After months of waiting, we finally got our first snow here in Virginia. It was only an inch or two, but it was enough for the kids to want to bundle up, grab their hats, scarves and gloves and head outside to play in the white, wintery weather. My ten-year-old daughter took Luke, my four-year-old son, out to play while I tended to some things inside including putting the kettle on so that I would be ready with hot chocolate when my two youngest decided they'd had enough.
Not an hour after they had come inside, Luke decided that he wanted to go out again. This time I went out with him. I wanted to take some pancakes that I had made over to my mother-in-law's house next door so that was as good of an excuse as any to go out. While I visited with Mom for a few minutes, Luke happily played outside. He then helped me clear Mom's driveway and sidewalk even though he wasn't happy that we were clearing away the footprints he had made in the process.
I assured him that he had made plenty of footprints in the snow, and that he would be able to make plenty more. Later that afternoon, his sister took him out again, and they moved to the pristine snow in the backyard so they could make more footprints.
Last night when I went out to take the garbage to the curb, the road was a little icy so I walked through the snow to Mom's house to check on her and take out her trash. When I was walking home I finally slowed down long enough to really look at Mom's front lawn and the footprints that were streaked across it. Dozens of trails led from my house to Mom's house and back again. More were streaked across our adjoining back yards. I had to smile. Those tracks might not mean much to someone passing by, but to me they reminded me of what's really important: family.