Cold Days, Warm Memories

I have very strong (and oddly fond) memories of sitting in a chilled but warming car as my mother scraped the ice off the windows of a morning. I remember watching through the ice, seeing her first only as a blur and then clearly as the ice was removed. I recall wondering whether she’d get that last little bit in the corner or if it’d be a quick job. I remember noticing that sometimes the ice came away more easily than other times.

These memories evoke a warm, comfortable feeling not unlike the memories of a grilled cheese sandwich and chicken noodle soup brought to me  when I was sick. Or of laying my head on her chest as I cuddled in her lap and listening to her talk to other people in the room, marveling at how different her voice sounded when heard through her chest. Listening to her heart beat. Relaxing in her strong and sure presence.

This morning, the weather had turned unexpectedly cold. Because of a shortage of pants brought on by rips in knees, holes in crotches, and massive stains on seats, I had mistakenly encouraged one of my children to wear shorts, thus saving me from the daily washing of the one pair of pants remaining (which itself was missing a button). We all rushed out to the cold car – no prewarming from this mother.

What appeared to be just water on the windshield and the windows on one side of the car turned out to be thick sheets of ice. As I scraped the windows, I saw my children’s faces silently watching me through the disappearing ice. Warm memories flooded my cold body. And can I just say this?

It sucks being the grown-up outside doing the scraping.

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6 thoughts on “Cold Days, Warm Memories

  1. i used to think it was a pain to scrape the ice from the windshield until i heard my gramma tell about getting up before daylight to collect firewood from the pile out back and build a fire in the fireplace after a long cold night with no heat whatsoever in a drafty old house where the multiple gaps between boards in the walls were covered only with aged newspaper.

    • Yeah, there’s definitely something to be said for perspective. In general, we’ve all got it pretty good now.

      That thought this morning as I scraped the windows, though, had much more to do with a general sense of how much harder it is to be the parent vs. the child than about the specific act of scraping windows.

  2. Oh yes, fortunately, I have not had this experience as a mother living in L.A. since my kids were born. I do remember my mother scraping the windows while I sat in the car though. She used to go out and warm the car up for a few minutes before we had to leave. I think it made it easier to scrape the ice off too.

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