The snow fell more heavily on our faces as we stood in unseasonably warm weather. The two of us waited patiently in the schoolyard to pick up the older kids.  The 3 year old, well 4 next week, followed a group of older children around. “Lets go somewhere else” one called as she approached and my heart and soul crushed. Suddenly my own childhood of rejection came to mind and I felt deeply for her.

She, on the other hand, switched to excitedly catching big fluffy snowflakes on her tongue, spirit unbroken. I whispered a silent prayer that she would never change as I watched her play. So much innocence and peace in that moment – it was almost surreal.

The calmness wasn’t provoked by the pure white of the snow or the brisk cold though. It wasn’t more than partially motivated by the child playing. It couldn’t have been entirely due to having a much needed break from the twins – one of whom is htiting the Christmas tree with a broom and the other climbing on the table as I write.

We were only in town at all because the little one had speech therapy. She attends every other week to help practice her f and s sounds. Things are progressing very well and this was actually my first oppterunity to take her;  surgery made it uncomfortable to drive.

Following speech we stopped in at the grocery store. This shouldn’t be important – but it was. We looked at cupcakes to take to preschool for her brithday, we bought ingredients to make dinner for the rest of the week, we grabbed some stuff to bake treats. For the first time since the start of the year I was able to go to the grocery store and buy food without overwhelming anxiety. Sure,  I was annoyed after spending more than I wanted to thanks to small town grocery store prices, but I didn’t panic at the register. I didn’t wonder if my card would be declined or not have enough for my mortgage.

My husband has been picking up some hours. The prospect looks good for him to have a job starting next month. We are still catching up, oh how behind we are, but there is hope. Something I haven’t had in months and months and that was causing me immense stress.

If 2016 was the storm then 2017 will be the cleanup. Yes we are still unsure of what the future will hold. Yes, we have a lot of work ahead. Yes, we will never be the same. But we do have a rainbow overhead to light our way and inspire us to keep going. We also had a wake up call that won’t quickly be forgotten.

So I’ll finish up the warmest year on record much less stressed and considerably happier. I will take time to watch and make the effort to stop and collect a few snowflakes – at least on occasion.