Old man winter decided to shower us with snow today. Finally.
Snowflakes danced on my nose and eyelashes as I ran through the neighborhood this morning. My IPod died on me ten minutes into my run. Irritation and anger raced through me for not charging it the night before. However, as I continued to run and pout, I heard vibrations of snow on the trees and a trio of birds still chirping away in the 15 degree weather. I changed my thinking: rather than be irritated for 60 minutes, I became grateful for the glorious morning and the snowflakes and the weekend and the opportunity to be by myself for an hour. The results were much better, indeed; I had a most enjoyable run.
I came home to a trashed house – the remnant of a crazy week juggling colds, homework, work, and kids’ addiction to electronics. As I began to clean, I sat Mario down with a phonics workbook. He is having trouble with his ABC’s and we are trying to think of ways to help him learn them. When Maria was his age, she had numbers and letters down pat. Mario’s teachers tend to put less emphasis on rote memorization and more emphasis on creativity. I like that style of teaching but I still want Mario to learn the basics! Then again, he isn’t hitting Kindergarten for another year and a half so I should probably just chill.
All Maria needs to hear is that Mario needs to learn something and she transforms herself into “teacher-mode.” She set up a desk and asked Mario to sit with her. She quizzed him on letters and when he got them wrong she gently told him “that is not right, buddy; let’s try it again.” He surprisingly hangs in there with her, even letting her lead in the ABC song. He gets to “LMNOP” and he mumbles something incoherent and continues on with Q and then straight to Y. I have no doubt that Maria will straighten him out and get him reciting his ABC’s in no time. She is a born teacher – even giving Mario a report card based on his ABC’s (“You did ok but keep practicing.”).
After an hour and a half of cleaning, Jon and Patrick and Mario left for Marion to see Jon’s mom and dad, and I stayed home with Maria and Alana (Mario ended up staying with Grandma and Grandpa Ionno after just pleading to them one time to spend the night – he is spoiled). The girls stayed in Maria’s room for a while playing a game that scares me. One of them is the mom and the other the teenage daughter. The daughter screams at her mom and tells her she hates her and drives off in the family car. It seems to always start this way. A snapshot of the future? Let’s hope not….
Maria has inherited my ADHD so after a short time of playing that game, she was ready for something new. She threw on her coat and went outside to play in the half-inch of snow. Alana followed. I continued to clean the counters. Ten minutes later, the doorbell rang. I answered and saw the girls giggling around the house. I went back to cleaning. They rang again. I opened the door and they both lobbed tiny snowballs at me. I stood in the house with snow falling off me. Should I get mad about the snow in my house or the snow on my shirt? Should I get mad that they interrupted my cleaning. No. Instead I got even!
I threw my coat and shoes on and chased them around the yard until I got ’em both with snowballs. Since we were covered in snow, we decided to try to build a snowman. The snow was light and fluffy and sparse, which prompted both girls to tell me there was no way to build one. But I always remember my dad’s actions on a summer day at the farm months ago. He had bought Mario a kite and Mario wanted to fly it but there was absolutely no wind. Everyone told Mario he could not fly it; that is, except my dad. He took him outside to give it a try. With a hill and a will, my dad ran down the hill with that kite flying high in the sky behind him. Mario jumped up and down with sheer joy on his face and we all stood in awe.
And, following my dad’s footsteps, Maria, Alana and I made ourselves a sweet, little snowman. It took lots of work – the girls shoveled their hearts out – but we did it. Alycia Snowy Ionno is her name and she is a beauty.