This past weekend was of the latter kind. It was a long, hard, sad weekend. Not sad in the debilitating, can’t-stop-crying way, but sad in the low, constant thrumming way, the one that whispers constantly in my ear.
She is everywhere.
She is nowhere.
She is always here.
She is not here.
She is gone.
How can she be gone?
And on and on and on.
I emerged from the weekend to a Facebook news feed full of posts about this week’s snow. It is snowing across much of the southeast, and the northeast is supposed to get walloped by the same storm later this week. Right now, the forecast for DC is about 1-3 inches. Which is perfectly fine with me. In fact, I’d be OK if it didn’t snow at all.
Anyone who knows me well knows that these words are near blasphemy coming from my mouth. Anyone who keeps up with me on Facebook remembers my giddy school-girlish postings last February when DC got socked by two huge snowstorms within days of one another. I feverishly followed the Capital Weather Gang’s forecasts as both storms approached, eagerly awaiting news of the first flakes, accumulation totals, and closings. I called the hardware store in advance of the first storm to make sure we’d be able to get some sleds. I posted hourly photos as the snow piled up on our back porch. And I looked forward to getting our girl out in the snow in the perfectly fitted hand-me-down lavender snowsuit and pink boots that our friends, Jake and Andrea, had left behind for Hudson when they moved to San Diego.
I’ve mentioned before that our girl was a snow-lover, but I was planning to wait until February’s “Remembering” post to share the best photo and video memories of our time in the snow with her. But I’ve found myself so buried in aching nostalgia today that I needed to write about it today. And I can’t write about it without sharing the pictures and photos, for without them, you would never be able to grasp why the threat of snow, let alone actual snow, brings me to my knees with grief.
We had a small snowstorm on January 31, which gave us our first taste of how much of a snow-lover Hudson would be.
A week later, we got hit with one storm right after the other, both totaling close to 20 inches. Once the bulk of the snow had fallen from the first storm, we ventured out to start shoveling. When it first snowed in December 2009, I hadn’t come up with a good way to protect Hudson’s hands from the cold, and she tired of it fairly quickly. When the January and February snows rolled around, I pulled thick wool socks up over her hands and under the sleeves of her coat and then pulled her mittens on over top. This time, Hudson was absolutely delighted to be in the snow and could not get enough, as you can see (I only wish you could see more of her face in this video, but you can see in the pictures below).
Ed dug a tobogganing track in the front yard so that we could pull Hudson around on a sled in it. We invited all our Brookland parent friends over to join us, and Kate and Shawn brought Madelyn, who is about 5 weeks younger than Hudson, over to play. Both girls had a ball, as did their moms and dads.
At the end of that first day, Hudson had this adorable look that was the perfect combination of exhaustion, bewilderment, and anticipation for the next time she could go back out and have fun.
Over the next few days, she would get so excited to go back outside that she would grab her snowsuit from its drying spot and bring it to us, saying, “Ow-sigh!” One time, even though we weren’t ready to go out, she wanted so badly to put it on that I just let her.
Sometime during the next week, as we weathered yet a second huge storm, we decided to try our hand at sledding on a “real” hill, which was really just a gentle 20-foot long slope behind our local community center. We again invited our friends along, and at different times were joined by Kate, Shawn, and Madelyn, and Renee, Karen, and Amaris. As much as Hudson enjoyed crawling around in the snow, she loved sledding in it even more. I’m pretty certain that she’d have grown up to love roller coasters like her mama if only she’d been given the chance.
I mean, look at this smile:
These are the last memories we’ll ever have of our snow-loving girl in the snow. You can see why the reports we got of snow at home in North Carolina on Christmas Day felt like a giant punch in the gut. You can see why each flake, although beautiful, unique, and filled with precious memories that I would never want to let go of, also feels like a mockery, like sorry insult to injury, when our Hudson is not with us. And you can see why I’ve felt tad schizophrenic as I’ve kept checking the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast today—I simultaneously dread the snow but still love it all at the same time. I can’t help myself.
We love you and miss you more than we can ever say, little Hudson snowbunny. We’d give anything if only we could have you with us here, excitedly anticipating the snow, waiting for the flakes to fall, holding your snowsuit up to us, later sledding by yourself for the first time, getting rosy-cheeked from the cold, drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn by the fire with us. We’d give anything.