No school today… It’s a snow day. Snowing in Texas. Yaaaayyyyy!!!!! That happens here about once every four years and when it does it’s a community celebration. They cancel school because they don’t want the kids out driving on the dangerous roads but then once school is canceled the kids are all out driving on the dangerous roads… They are all mostly traveling to my parents house who live on a big hill which is perfect for sledding. And since my parents are natives of Michigan and are old pro’s at everything winter, and who also happened to buy 7 sleds while on a trip to Michigan a few years back…. (yep, not too many snow sleds sold in Texas) when a snow storm hits, their house is the happening place to be.
So immediately as soon as my kids woke up they began screaming, “Let’s go to Gramma’s house! Let’s go to Gramma’s house!” All except for little Lexi Lu, who quietly announces as she leans against my arm, “I feel horrible. I think I’m sick, mommy.” As any professional mother knows, especially a mother of girls…. they are always feeling sick. If it’s time for school, they’re feeling sick. If it’s time for church, they are definitely sick. If it’s time to go to bed, their stomach is hurting, their nose is stuffed and they can’t breath. My girls like being sick so much I almost bought them each a thermometer to put in their Christmas stocking. But any wise, experienced mother also knows, when they say this, they are usually anything but sick. In fact, the only time when I really am sure that they are sick is when their inability to sleep affects my ability to sleep. Once, late into the night, I could hear little Lexi coughing and coughing and COUGHNG. I tried to ignore it, but every time I was almost asleep, she’d start up again. Finally about 2 o’clock in the morning, I trudged into the girls room and shook her awake. Luckily she hadn’t awakened Payton yet who was sleeping soundly in the double bed with her. “Lexi…Lexi…” I said, as I tiredly shook her awake. She looked dazedly at me through one half-opened eye as I sat her up in the bed. “Here, take this,” I said, as I gave her a tsp. of cough suppressant before covering her up and returning to my own room. The next morning at breakfast I was bemoaning the fact of how little sleep I had gotten during the night due to Lexi’s coughing. “I wasn’t coughing,” exclaimed Lexi matter-of-factly. “That was Payton. She kept me up all night too.” Shocked, I looked at Payton. “Was it you? I thought it was Lexi. Lexi, I came in and gave you cough medicine….” “Is that was that was?” she asked, laughing. “I was wondering.”
That will go down as one of my great mother of the year moments… But since I am older and more experienced…. I do know that if it’s snowing for the only day of the whole year, maybe the next four years… if your little girl is leaning against you saying she’s sick… she’s sick. I got the flashlight and looked at her tonsils. They were reddened, swollen and covered with the tell-tale white pustules that usually means Strep. It’s snowing outside, the roads are icy, my husbands out-of-town again (of course), so that leaves me to take her out to the doctor. I load up the other children in the car with my oldest son Cade, who after much instruction from me (who am I kidding about knowing how to instruct him on driving on ice.) drives them the two blocks over to Gramma’s for sledding. And off Lexi and I head to town for the doctor.
It’s early in the morning, around 9:30. No ones been out yet and I can barely make out the road. The snow is flying towards the windshield like the stars whizzing past the spacecraft in a Star Trek movie. Lexi’s saying, “The snows making me dizzy.” I’m intently watching the road, the windshield wipers scraping as we trudge along at 15-20 miles an hour. We make it into town where here, there are trails in the road where other cars have driven. I follow in those. I’m tailing another car and suddenly it starts spinning out in front of us, doing a 360 in the middle of the road. I brake as I slide towards them. The car behind me brakes as they begin sliding towards me and the car behind them brakes and to avoid a collision, drives off the road and into the woods. All these Texas drivers… we should not be out driving on this ice.
I finally manage to get around the stranded car in the middle of the road and head up the hill. Near the top, my tires start spinning out and we begin sliding backwards. I’m scared. Lexi knows I’m scared which makes her scared. She’s crying now saying she’s not sick anymore and let’s just go home. Well, we aren’t going home. We aren’t going anywhere. My tires are spinning and spinning and we’re staying in place. As my speedometer revs up to 30 miles an hour a man taps on my window and as I roll it down he asks if I have four-wheel drive. “I don’t know,” I say as we both silently agree that I am a stupid, idiot, woman who shouldn’t be out on the road. He flags some other men who help push and turn me around, informing me that if I’m going to the doctor, I’ll have to go another way. We head off in another direction, a flatter road that’s been more traveled and we eventually make it. We make it to my doctor’s but the lights are out. Great. Our pediatrician meets us in the waiting room and leads us to her office where there are large windows so we’ll have light. The generator kicks on. She swabs Lexi’s throat and is able to run the test. Her strep test comes back positive. It better be positive after us risking life and limb to get here. She gives her the prescription of which we can get filled in the same building, thank the Lord, and then we head back home. And we make it, safe and happy to be alive.
Later on, now warm and dry, we sit on the couch together watching a movie. Lexi is forlorn about missing the day of sledding. “Why do I have to be sick on the only day it’s going to snow all year. Why? Do you think it will snow again soon mom?” “Maybe,” I say, “in about four years.” She scowls and smiles her evil smile at me. And we lean back to watch the rest of our movie. We’re watching 16 Love. It’s a movie on netflix. It’s about a girl who is trying to be a tennis pro and her dad, who is also her coach, is really hard on her. At one point in the movie he tells her how winning a certain tennis trophy was the greatest day of his life and he’s pushing her because he just wants that for his daughter. But later, in a poignant moment of the movie, he slams the trophy in the trash and apologizes to his daughter about what he had said before and explained how that winning the trophy wasn’t the greatest day of his life. He explains that he’s had thousands of days greater than that. The day he met her mother was a greater day than that, the day his daughter was born… those were really the greatest days of his life. Lexi leans her head against mine and turns to me and whispers softly. “What was the greatest day of your life mommy?” “Well,” I say, thinking intently, “I think I’d have to say it was the day your sister, Payton, was born.”
“Moooommmmmy,” she says, with that evil smile of hers, as she leans her forehead firmly against mine, her two eyes becoming one big one. I squeeze her nose and laugh as we both settle in to watch the rest of the movie.
Snow days are ‘one of the greatest days….’
(Puny Lexi makes it outside to put the finishing touches on our snowman…)