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Snow Angels

February 14, 2009


A few weeks ago our family spent the weekend watching some old videos from when the kids were little. Back then I had filmed a series of “a day in the life” routines, so that I could capture my little girls on tape and always remember the way it was. I had recorded moments of them singing, playing, laughing, running, and riding bikes. I even caught on tape a bit of naughtiness – some fighting and crying – which is actually cute and funny when you play it back years later. Well, to me it was actually funny right at that time. That’s why I videotaped it.

Those little girls were so precious. They seemed so happy. So did Beth and me. There’s something about reminiscing that makes you gloss over, and even forget, all the stress and messiness and emotional chaos that was also going on at the same time.

There’s one scene in particular that will stick with us forever. It is filmed in the dead of winter, and there’s been a heavy snowfall. In fact, it’s a snow-day for the entire family – no school, no work! So, like all the snow-bound families waking up to the delights of an unexpected day off, we celebrate by bundling up our little girls, who were probably about 3 and 6 years old at the time. We take them out to play in the winter wonderland.

It’s eerily quiet in the neighborhood, other than the crunching of boots on the snow and the sing-song of little-girl chatter. The roads are not plowed yet, so there are no cars driving by. The snow is a deep, fresh powder, and the afternoon sun has begun to peer through the clouds in the sky. I’m videotaping the girls sledding down the little hill in our yard, with their little snowsuits and saucers. Wee! Down they go, only to face the surprising immediacy and drudgery of walking all the way back up the hill while carrying their saucer, along with the twenty pounds of snowsuit insulation. They look like little astronauts in their spacesuits, climbing in slow motion.

They make it back to the top and slide down again. As we are watching the second climb back to the top of the hill, suddenly, out of nowhere, two beautiful fluffy white dogs appear, wandering into the scene. They are walking up the street towards our house. As they get closer, they spot the girls and begin to make their way up the little hill in our yard to greet them. What was odd was that these dogs were not from our neighborhood. We had never seen them before. They were gorgeous. We didn’t know what kind they were, but they looked like they could have arrived directly from the North Pole. Or maybe some kind of Magical Christmas Dogs had fallen out of a snow globe in the sky. They were pure, snow-white identical twin Samoyeds — big, regal, serene, and stunningly beautiful dogs. We later found out later that Samoyeds were originally bred hundreds of years ago in Siberia and Alaska for pulling sleds and herding. The North Pole connection was spot on.

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