Fluffy, quiet, all afternoon the flakes fell gently. He’d wanted to walk among them, to breathe in the world’s white transfiguration. By the time I organized myself, however, he’d already moved on.
“I want to play trains,” he intoned.
“Come on, it’s snow!” I coaxed. “Let’s get your boots on. We’ll have a great time.”
Cornered, his eyes sunk, lower lip retracted. “I want to play trains.”
Every day he clocked as many hours at his train table as I did at work. Meanwhile winter was half over, and this was just our second snowfall. Nature’s miracles deserved more than a passing glance. “We can play trains when we get back. Come get your coat, you can wear your hood up.”
Face quivering, his eyes searched mine for mercy. My wife scooched over and hugged him. “You wanted to go out earlier,” she reminded. “Hurry up and put on your coat so you can play in the snow.”
“But I want to play trains!”
His face contorted. So did my wife’s. She hugged him close and flashed me a silent, pleading expression, her own downturned lip asking if I would really force winter wonderland on an unwilling victim.
I would. “Boot time,” I declared, pulling him over and working at his feet. He howled – not only during boots, but coat and mittens too. As I carried him to the front door I wondered how long tears took to freeze. Meanwhile my wife maintained her doleful, sympathetic expression. “He’ll be fine,” I reassured. “Two or three minutes and he’ll get into it. We’ll come back laughing.”
I swung open the door. Frigid air and the glint of snow drew the breath from my son’s lungs. The next instant he squirmed in my arms, demanding, “Down? I want to walk. Down!”
His feet contacted the front step and he was off, barreling through the snow.