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When Winter Feels Too Long

"Winter is too long in New York City.”

My daughter’s text is short but says a lot. I understand, living in Minnesota until I was 27 years old. January and February dragged on and on. Georgia’s winter, in comparison, is short and sweet. Some days offer the bluster of winter, and other days we go out in shorts and t-shirts.

Today I’m in Houston, with my other daughter and two grandsons. It’s winter here, and days of rain have forced two adult women, one infant, one toddler, and one golden doodle to remain indoors, the dog’s sentiment expressed by her constant chewing on Cocomelon figurines.

It’s before six am, and the sound of wind and rain belt the window. My two and half-year-old grandson is murmuring in his room. He usually doesn’t wake before seven.

I do the grandma thing, creep in, and whisk him into my arms. Before snuggling into my bed, I crack open the shutters.

“It’s dark outside, time to sleep,” I say.

“But I’m awake!” He opens his palms wide, every finger open in energy.

My happy smile-wrinkles grow deeper. We are beneath the warm blankets, cuddling, and talking about love.

“Memaw loves you so much,” I say.

“Memaw loves me.” He pounds his chest.

“Your mom and dad, Grandpa, baby brother. Nona. Pappy. All love you so much.”

Through the crack in the shutter, streetlight whispers in. Delight paints a warmth on his face.

“Everything in this amazing world loves you.” I think of a bit I read from the Franciscan, Saint Bonaventure. “The stones, the grass under your feet, the flowers you smell, the sun on your face—”

“But,” he points to the window. “It’s raining.”

“The rain loves you, too.”

His brows furrow, his appearance far more mature than his 30 months. “I love the rain, too!”

And what does this little one teach us?

Later I share my chat with my New York daughter. She laughs.

“The sun is shining in Brooklyn today.”

And my smile-wrinkles grow deeper.


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