It was a Thursday afternoon, two of my boys were in diapers, and I was still nursing one. My second oldest was already home from pre-school — so she had three boys. That afternoon, the first snow of the season began to fall, and the sky was dark, allowing any Christmas lights that were on that time of day to glow along “city sidewalks,” as in the lyrics to Silver Bells.
As I made my way out the door, to head out for some child-free Christmas shopping, she was already getting snuggled up on the sofa with the boys to watch Christmas specials on VHS tapes. The baby sat in her arms, almost asleep, the other one snuggled beside her with his bottle, and the older one handled the movie controls.
Meanwhile, I loved the freedom of walking through the store without worrying about the chattering child at my side. I was almost done shopping, when a snowman caught my eye. As if I really needed one more Christmas decoration… but this was a charming Advent Snowman, that I knew would delight the boys. Besides, his soft and cuddly face was irresitible.
I hesitated… but I eventually grabbed it and paid for it. Today, that little boy who was drinking the bottle moved the felt Christmas tree to number 3.
Out of all the treasures I bought that day, I cannot remember a single item, save for this snowman. And every year, I remember that last afternoon that my mom took care of my boys, and of me.