I made a tremendous discovery during our snow storms this week: don’t go for the “biggest is best” argument when snow shovelling. I knew, being the not quite four feet eleven inches that I am, that my shovelling would have to be measured, slow and not too heavy. So I found the old kiddie shovel I bought for my children years ago. It was lightweight with a small surface area. And so I dug.
My husband did all the major snow removal with the snow blower. When I came outside, trusty shovel in hand, he shooed me back in the house. I stood my ground and said, “Stop the nonsense of enforcing gender differences and responsibilities. With three feet of snow, gender roles have no place.” He backed off, considering the knowledge of my words, and I strutted out to do some serious digging.
With each shovelful, wonderful memories inundated me. It was as if that kiddie shovel held all the remnants of my childrens’ young years, and all those memories were being passed from the shovel to me. First of all, I bought that shovel when the kids were still in elementary school. I figured that if they enjoy their house, they should help take care of it. And they were totally game. Any chore, any task, can be worthwhile and fun. It is all in the presentation. So I made sure that my kids saw the digging out as a game, not just all tedium. In the end, they felt very mature, as they had helped the family. Good all around.
I remember those snow days. We had such good times. When they were young, we would do many activities. My daughter would compose poems, and my son and I would illustrate them. Those old pieces of paper are among my most precious possessions. Maribel wrote a thank you poem for her purple and pink Chuck sneakers and I drew a picture of — what else?— purple and pink high-tops over the words. She also wrote a poem about animals, and Chuck drew beautiful giraffes on the page.
We also created many other snow day “works of art”. During their young childhood, my kids were devoted fans of He-Man and She-Ra. Thus, we painted appropriate props:
So yes: my snow shovel offered up many memories. The time you take to make memories is so worth it, as their importance and meaning grow geometrically over the years. My snow shovel was just a tool to instill responsibility and a marvelous sense of wonder for the children as well as the parents. Marvelous is as marvelous does: it’s all what you make it.