“Come on, Anya!” I praised my daughter. I was on my knees in the snow willing the baby to walk towards me. She had insisted on walking in the snow and I felt bad when I first put her down. The expression on her face was enough to know that she had no idea that the beautiful white flakes she saw coming down from the sky would be cold. She got used to the idea very quickly and soon was rolling around on the ground as much as I would allow. It had taken us awhile to get bundled up but only a few minutes to soak our layers through. We wouldn’t stay outside long, I just wanted her to get a feel of her first snowfall ever. First blizzard I should say. The snow had accumulated quickly and I managed to catch a little bit of the newscast while feeding the baby. Apparently we were in for three feet of snow by the next morning and we were just in the beginning of the storm, we could be expecting flakes all night long.
Anya started running towards me, a huge grin on her face as she ran. “Dada!” She cried, her little stubby legs trying desperately to move quicker than the inches of snow would allow. Her knees came up to her chest as she half waddled half ran to me. Without warning the snow jumped up and hit her in the mouth. Anya started crying as the heels of her hands went into the snow, covering her arms up to her shoulders.
“Aw baby!” I said sympathetically, scooping her up and holding her tightly to my warm jacket. “Time to go inside,” I told her, sliding a glove off my hand and wiping her face with my finger. I carried the wailing baby up the porch steps and locked the door behind us. “Aw, honey,” I gushed, getting down on one knee. I sat her on my knee and started pulling her boots off. “Shhh,” I soothed, taking off her boots and putting them near the door to dry. I stuffed her snowsuit under my arm so I could take it upstairs to the bathroom to hang up on the shower rod to drip dry. I stood up and kicked off my boots.
“I’ll be home for Christmas,” I sang softly. “You can count on me... Everyone takes a spill once in awhile,” I assured the child.
Anya nodded as though she understood my words, although I knew she really did understand my tone. She knew that when Daddy sang the problem would be solved. I took my baby up to the bathroom and ran the bathwater until it was warm. I filled the tub about four inches with warm water, pulled off the remaining layers I had packed on the child and placed her gently in the water, holding her around the waist so she couldn’t move around the tub.
“Daddy’s stupid,” I told her as I looked around the room. “Daddy doesn’t have a clean diaper in here.” I sighed and took one hand away from her body. I shook my jacket off that arm and then switched, repeating the same maneuver. I threw my jacket as well as Anya’s snow suit on top of her clothes on the closed toilet seat to deal with later.
After a few minutes of Anya’s splashing around in the tub I decided she was over her spill and was probably warm. “OK, Snow Angel,” I said picking her up from the water and slinging her over my shoulder, ignoring the water that was dripping on my sweater. “Say bye-bye to the water.” I felt her waving to the tub over my shoulder as I carried her into her room. I quickly put a diaper on her and found her the warmest pajamas I could find.
I glanced at the clock, it was still early but I was exhausted. “Are you tired yet?” I asked my daughter. She yawned in response. “I’m taking that as a yes.” I put her in her crib. “Time for bed. Daddy’s going to go clean up the bathroom and then I’m going to bed, too. You tired me out, kid!” I leaned over and kissed her forehead. I kept my hand on the back of her head lightly. “I love you, Anya. Good night.” I patted her back gently and turned off the lights with the intention of hanging up our wet clothes in the bathroom. I didn’t get too far when I started hearing sounds of “Dada?” coming from a certain baby’s room down the hall. They weren’t urgent calls, but they were still calls.
I walked into the bathroom and surveyed the scene. My muscles ached from playing outside but I knew I had to clean. I picked up the wet clothes and hung them over the tub. I stretched and leaned up against the wall. “I’m tired,” I said out loud to myself. I looked at my watch and shook my head. “It’s 8 o’clock and you’re tired,” I scolded. “You’re getting old.”
I yawned and turned off all the lights on the upstairs floor. I paused for a second before I turned out the hallway light. I smiled up at the pictures on the wall: baby pictures, family portraits, documents of my family. I turned out the light and headed down stairs to make a snack and watch some TV.
I searched through the fridge and realized I really had to go shopping. “We are so not ready for a blizzard,” I said, hanging on the refrigerator door. I closed it but not before grabbing a carton of orange juice out of the fridge. I shook it. “One glass left.” I took the carton out into the living room and flopped down on the couch. I picked up the remote and found an old Christmas movie on TV. My eyes threatened to close after about five minutes of sitting there, I had to move. I jumped up off the couch and walked to the window. The snow was still falling steadily. I turned off the lights in the living room and flicked on the light for the Christmas tree. The bright colored lights lit up the corner of the room, half of the lights blinked due to my daughter’s insistance and those lights blinked in rhythm to an inaudible song they sang. The moonlight lit up the half of the room that our Christmas tree didn’t. The snow always created a light of it’s own, and that amazed me. It always had. I loved to sit in my living room as a child with only the light of the snow shining into the room. I think I always knew it wasn’t really the snow that was lighting up the room, it was really the moon shining on the white snow which created the magnificent glow, but I never wanted to actually believe that. To me it was the snow, and it was the snow angels that allowed it to happen.
I backed up from the window and longed for my wife. There was nothing I wanted to do more than sit in front of the window in the snow-light holding her close to me, just watching the snow flakes fall from the sky, perfect in every way. The Christmas tree added to the longing in my heart. I could sit in the room for hours with my family with just the lighted tree and a fire in the fireplace. I quickly formed a plan for the next night when Clare and Zoë would be home. I smiled to myself, unable to wait until tomorrow.
I yawned and once again my eye lids threatened to close. I flicked off the lights and the TV, doubled locked the door, and headed up to my room. I didn’t even bother to close the door as I changed into my night clothes. It was hot in my room so I just pulled on a pair of pajama pants, leaving my clothes on the floor to wear again tomorrow.
I settled into my large bed, the sheets cool against my bare skin. I closed my eyes but for some reason sleep did not come. I sat up in bed and planted my feet on the floor. “Blah,” I announced. I slumped over and thought for a few minutes. “Anya,” I concluded, rising to my feet, I don’t want to sleep alone.
There were no noises coming from Anya’s room so I suspected her to be asleep but I was wrong. The baby’s eyes were wide open and her fist was in her mouth. I leaned over the crib and she raised her eyes to look at me. “Hey, Anya,” I said softly just in case she was in-between sleep and reality. I didn’t want to disturb her, or even hurt her small eardrums. I rubbed her back in small circles to ensure she was alert.
“Dada,” she said softly, her lips crawling into a small satisfied smile.
“Yep,” I told her. “Dada.” I reached into the crib and picked her up gently. “Do you want to come with Dada tonight?” Anya snuggled deep into my chest and sighed loudly. I chuckled and turned off the light as we left the room.
I didn’t bother to close the door to my room, I was used to not having it closed in case someone needed me in the middle of the night. I settled back into my bed and stood Anya on my chest. I held her under the arms and danced her back and forth gently, much to her delight. I kissed her tiny foot when she put it to my mouth, she giggled. “All right, time for bed,” I concluded after a few minutes of play. I laid her on her stomach next to me on the bed I shared with my wife. I pulled the soft comforter up to her neck and kissed the back of her head. “Good night... again.”
I carefully stacked a few pillows around my daughter’s tired body in case she should roll during the night. Falling off the bed would never be a good thing. The moonlight poured in through the window, streaking the light parts of Anya’s hair. I settled down next to her and draped my arm over the pillows I stacked around her for extra insurance that she wouldn’t roll in her sleep. Pretty soon my baby was sleeping soundly next to me, her back moving up and down when she took a deep breath.
“What are you dreaming about?” I asked her sleeping body softly. “The snow? The angels that brought you to me? What your first Christmas will be like?” I leaned over and kissed her warm back. “I wonder...” I snuggled down into my pillow and pretty soon was dreaming about the snow angels that delivered me my family so many years ago.