When I got back from kindergarten drop off this morning, as I walked through the garage…I felt a “thunk,” followed by an unmistakable giggle.
I should have known better than to let my guard down after a fresh snowfall. Lo, my three-year-old, loves snowballs. Born with comedic timing, her little antics often revive me after stressful bouts around the house… like getting my five-year-old to kindergarten on time each morning.
“Go get Daddy,” I suggested to her. Her eyes lit up and she ran to the snow pile. She reached into a freshly shoveled pile and picked out a big chunk with her bare hands. Eyes wide, she ran at me panicked. The adrenaline of the first sneaky blow to Mommy wore off, and she then realized just how cold the snow was.
“It’s cold, Mommy! Hold it! Hold it!” she pleaded.
It was my turn to chuckle, now, as I helped her get her gloves on and sneak attack Daddy as he shoveled the walk around the corner from the garage. She giggled until she ran out of breath, and then turned on her heals to run from Daddy’s snowball. Soon after, she picked up her little plastic snow shovel and bounced across the snow-covered front lawn to help shovel the sidewalk. Such a cheerful little soul.
That giggle. That unmistakable, I-just-cracked-myself-up-again giggle that she blurts out is priceless. She ramps it up a notch when she know something is up, too. When big sis is in trouble, she’ll wander over to “time-out” and make a funny, googly-eyed face to make her laugh. At dinner-time, she always steals the show, delivering some crazy antic or hysterical one-liner. During the holidays, when we were all bummed out to say good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa as they moved to Florida, Lo gave us “The Cheeky Show,” starring Cheeky the Snowman…the puppet. That little puppet would bounce up into view while Lo’s little voice provided the inaudible commentary from under the table. Priceless. And hysterical.
I can be so easy to let hectic morning schedules set the tone for a long, stressful day. A bad morning can easily snowball into a rant about how hectic the morning was. Why won’t my kid listen? What am I doing wrong as a parent that she won’t carry out the simple tasks I ask her to do in the morning? And then, the resounding guilt that follows….Why was I so hard on her? Where is my patience? Why can’t I be more compassionate in those hectic moments? Why didn’t I stop to pray for interference from the Holy Spirit himself to keep me from losing my cool!
Blessed am I, to have a “Lo Lo” to throw a snowball at me, snapping me out of a miserable 20 minutes of the day and ready to enjoy the rest of it. She’s right, in all her toddler wisdom, to make us laugh when we’re worked up. What’s worth ruining a whole gift of a day?
The challenge to Lo’s comedic gift is that its literally impossible not to smile when she’s in trouble. It’s almost always for something that is so funny I had to leave the room to laugh first (if I made it in time) before reprimanding her. However, when she’s really been yelled at, it hurts her to the core. Immediately.
Lo is one of those kids who’s cry comes with a warm up. The eyes glaze over with tears, the bottom lip starts to quiver…and her arms extend out for a hug as the tears roll down and the yelps come out. When she’s really crushed, she takes off running up the stairs and throws herself on to her bed as the sobs roll out. Breaks my heart!
As adults so caught up in gauging our reactions, it can be hard to relate to that immediate release of raw emotion. Until something blindsides us that we weren’t prepared for. Being recently diagnosed with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) as of late has brought out some pretty raw emotion that I have had to process carefully. I have two little girls that I love to play with, and I’m a runner. Most people know me best by my laugh…my faith in God allows me to be a pretty positive person. But even for me, coming to terms with an incurable arthritic disease that affects the spine, eventually causing it to fuse, can as painful emotionally as it is physically. I’m 34 years old.
It could easily go that way, couldn’t it? After five years of pain and misdiagnosis/treatement…test runs with medications that carried terrible side effects…and two days after the first dose of a new medication failed to bring any relief, it hit me. The reality of what I am facing. What the worst could be. That it may not be so easily relieved. That there is no cure.
Very Melty Snowball.
Thank God I have God.
Though He didn’t literally throw a snowball at me, the next morning my little Lo came bouncing into my room, and landed in between my husband and I to snuggle. In her typical fashion, she began to goof off as she slowly woke up…and as we all started to laugh the day awake all I could do was pray thanks to God. What a joyful way to wake up in the morning, and be reminded that each day of life is a blessing with a purpose. Later on that day she whipped a snowball at me as I walked back into the garage, feeling awful that I let my pain overtake my patience with her big sister that morning before school. As we ran errands that morning, little Lo played with her fairies in the backseat…and the grocery cart…and melted everyone’s hearts along the way…including mine. My husband mopped the entire downstairs floor that day…making me laugh to myself upstairs as I heard him instruct little Lo,
“Now no crumbs! Daddy just cleaned the whole floor!”
I got to catch up with one of my best girlfriends, who led me along a beautiful snowy trail run in the woods. Connected by a blog I read from someone in the UK with AS, a Facebook support group for the disease welcomed me with words of encouragement. Brianne bounced home from school with daisies in her hand, a smiling husband with arms outstretched for a hug behind her.
“For your back, Mommy.” she said.
My little kids often remind me to appreciate the little things in life, but when life starts to roll downhill, it’s God, Himself that will remind me to appreciate every little thing in life. Even AS. I trust that He wouldn’t give me anything I can’t handle, and I’ve seen other people conquer harder and graver heartaches and illnesses than I…with grace. Little Lo, born with that special twinkle in her eye, is my own personal little angel here on earth. A girl after my heart that loves to laugh and lives to smile. AS is no match for Cheeky the Snowman.
Happy Snowball Fights!