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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Why do I?

“How cold is it going to be today?”

“Cold.”

“Colder than the last time I ran in a race?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure? It was pretty cold that day.”

“It’s 36 degrees right now.”

“How cold will it be when the race starts?”

“Maybe 40.” He checks the weather, “No, only 36 still. Oh, and it’ll feel like 28. It’s windy.”

“Why do I do this?”

“Do you want me to be honest? Because you are dumb. ‘Here, let me give you money to go run on a street when I could just run on the treadmill at home and watch TV.'”

“I’m supporting the fight against racism.”

“You could send them a check and stay home.”

“I’m showing my support publicly.”

“You could take out an ad in the newspaper.”

I glare at him.

“I’m doing something with my friend Rachel.”

“You could invite her over for a glass of wine.”

“Why do I talk to you?”

“Because you love me.”

It’s a good thing he has all the answers. *grin*