|Ann Arbor - 01/02/99 22:00 PM Central Daylight Time - Mike|
Today was the day of the Big Snow. About a foot over just a couple of hours. There were snow warnings issued over the cable TV, people were advised to stay indoors, the roads were terrible and hazardous.
The perfect day for Amy and Lisa to be running around the backyard, making snow angels, snowmen, maybe a fort. In the backyard, there's a little incline. It's only about a 3 foot drop, only about 3 feet from start to finish. Hardly enough to bother with. But they loved it last winter. Over the summer, they'd run the Slip and Slide down that slope too.
Jean was talking with me a bit about what it would have been like - what it was like last winter. The kids running around the house, voices yelling with excitement, looking for gloves and snow pants and boots. Lisa would watch Amy for the signals - what do we HAVE to wear? what are we going to DO outside?
After, we'd do one of Amy's favorite things on a cold night - she'd have us lay a sleeping bag out on the living room floor in front of the fireplace. Throw in a fake log or two and make hot chocolate. Maybe read a couple of their favorite books, maybe just watch the fire. Often, this would go on late into the night - well past their bedtime. It was always worth it. "Late" might only be ten or eleven, but to them, they'd really had a big treat.
This is all gone.
Lisa's friend (through Amy) Calyn came over this morning. They played for an hour or two. The heavy part of the snow came after Calyn left. Dad was pretty much confined to bed today with a sciatic nerve pinch but heard Lisa and Mom downstairs. They went outside to shovel the walk, sweep the porch steps and play a bit. Fun - at least they got outside. But we are both terribly aware of what a difference it is to be outside with mom and dad versus being outside with a three-year-older sister, running around in the snow, burning off energy for all they're worth.
Tonight at dinner, Lisa brough bear "Hum Bear" to the table. This was Amy's all-time favorite stuffed animal, seems like she's had it forever. Now it's Lisa's. Lisa pulled out Amy's chair and put Hum there for dinner. She set the places and reminded mom that she was one plate short. Lisa set up plate, fork, cup for Hum. We lit Amy's candle and said a prayer - said "hello" to her yet again.
A few days ago, Lisa said "I miss having four people in our family." We just nodded and said "we do too, honey." What else can you say?