The Boy and I were pretty excited about the snow that began to fall over Central Texas yesterday. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to give us hopes for some snow fun the following day. I was so optimistic I ran out to get The Boy some snow boots, just in case (btw, the only ones they had that fit the boy were pink – and boy was he ever pleased).

We woke up to what looked like possibly an inch of snow, and I think that might be stretching it. I didn’t have much hopes for sledding, but Brooks was so excited, we hurried up and ate breakfast and headed out to play in the snow.

It’s moments like these I miss Big Brooks the most. His laughter is contagious, and he just thinks differently than I do, so his perspective always brings something to the table I never could.

And then there’s the guilt sometimes that creeps in, all our laughter and merriment, and all the while he’s half way around the world, without us and anything comfortable or familiar. Obviously I know he wouldn’t want us miserable but I always feel his sacrifices far outstrip anything we ever endure.

So The Boy and I had some fun, in the unexpected Texas snow. We tried our hand at sledding on the hill adjacent to our driveway. It worked pretty well, with Little B squealing and giggling the whole way.

We also had fun colorizing the snow (a bright red, my son thought it would look cool because it looked like blood), riding his trike in the snow (not such a hot idea, I acted like the motor and had to push the whole way, though Brooks loved it), a good ol’ snow ball fight, and a walk to the park.

After we came in and dried off we made chewy chocolate chip cookies and cocoa and watched “Catch that Kid” while snuggling under blankets.

We also tried our hand at string painting with tempera paint. This was another fun idea by The Artful Parent:

Little B really loved this project. At first he wasn’t sure he loved the process (he hates getting paint or glue on his hands) but then really got into it after his first piece was finished.

He ended up with some neat pieces, some of which we’ll send to Dad in his first care package. I think I might frame a few, they turned out so neat.

The genius behind The Artful Parent posted this on her Facebook today and it really sums up how we approach art in this house:

‎”Whatever the resulting artwork–whether it is a bright, sticky glob or a gallery-worthy masterpiece –to a toddler or two-year-old, it is only the result of “doing art,” not the reason for doing art.” -MaryAnn Faubion Kohl , First Art

And now, The Boy is having a sleepover with his bestest buddy, and hearing their laughter and feet running here and there in the house really makes me smile.

Some may think I’m not being realistic by trying to keep the sadness at bay for my little boy. In his short little life he’s dealt with three deployments, this being his fourth. After his second deployment he did his best to distance himself from his Dad, because he was leaving so often. It was killing me and I knew it was hurtful to my husband. And it’s definitely not like I keep my grief and sadness hidden from him, because he understands that’s normal too. But at the same time, hearing the anguish in his voice, watching him wracked with sobs, at the pain of missing his Dad, that’s a hard thing to bear, especially when my sadness is so raw and close to the surface. So I think keeping him busy, helping his days go by just a bit faster with different activities and outings, I think that’s the kind thing to do. Because I know that regardless of what I do, there will be moments when we both stop mid sentence, or pause in the midst of doing something, and all that sadness will bubble up and that’s okay too.

Brooks called today for the first time since he left. I didn’t expect the call so soon. Hearing his voice was wonderful. We knew time was limited and hurried to tell him all the things we’d done, but the I love you’s and I miss you’s were more plentiful than anything else we told him, because in our way, we want to make it better for him too.