Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010...12:05 pm


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It’s snowing in Austin. The big, soggy flakes that land on the earth with a thud. I’ve never seen it snow like this here.

Last night, as the weatherman hyped up the big weather event and discussed the impending snow as if it was truly the end of the wold, just like Scout insists to Atticus when she sees her first snow in Alabama, I looked at Ken with skepticism (I am from a CT, a place where real snow happens all the time and life goes on) and with a bit of worry. I wasn’t worried about driving on the wet pavement. I wasn’t worried about dressing warmly enough or of the ice cicles that could form on the house and car.

I was worried I’d miss Nora seeing snow for the first time in her life.

“If I’m with 25 crazy teenagers when it snows and not Nora, I’m going to be pissed,” I said to Ken.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “If it’s snowing in the afternoon I’ll go get her early and let her play out in the snow at the park. I’ll get her hat and her coat. Do we even have gloves for her?”

“No, but she can wear her elmo hands,” I replied, referring to the giant pink fuzzy gloves she found in our basket from Boston, shoved in the corner and dusty with underuse.

“And I’ll let her play in the snow and get wet and cold,” he said, reminding me that snow isn’t really all that great – especially the kind we get here.

That comforted me, though. At least one of us would get to experience snow with Nora.

Nora’s love affair with snow began at Meme and Papa’s house. Before they packed up and headed to Texas to spend their retirement in the warmth of the weather and their family, their friends assumedly worried they’d forget what real New England weather looks like and bestowed upon them many books of photography, depicting snow and changing leaves and bright sun that doesn’t warm the earth to scalding degrees as it does here. Nora picked up those heavy books and, with Meme’s help, found snow. Each visit she would go to the books, pretend shiver as we’d taught her to do, and say, with wonder and awe and a bit of drama, “Toooow!” Yes, snow, we’d all repeat.

At Christmas time we sat on the couch, nebulizer on, and Frosty the Snowman playing on repeat on YouTube. She loved the ”towman.” And just this week she’s taken a liking to the beautifully illustrated tale of a boy who flies away and adventures with his snowman, after almost melting him in “hot fire.”

When the beautifully full flakes began to fall during my second period class today, I paused to look at them, to forget that every time it snows in Texas I usually make fun of everyone who thinks it is such a monumental event.  I tried to see snow as if I’d never seen it before, as if I was standing next to Nora, hearing her awe-filled voice and watching her outstretched finger pointing to the white magic falling from the sky. I couldn’t be there with her for real, I was indeed stuck with 23 crazy teenagers who themselves began acting like two year olds when they caught a glimpse of the weather, but, as Elmo taught me on Sunday, I could use my imagination to be with Nora as she experienced real “tow” for the first time in her little life.

And when the bell rang, I went out to play in the snow with the big kids, and called Ken to be reassured that if it was still snowing after naptime, he would take my little kid out to play in it too.

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