Oh Portland, you silly worrywart of a city. Two inches of snow of unexpected snow, at best, and the whole world shuts down. I don’t mind. I love the snow and become as giddy as the kids as I await them to fling back the curtains and cry, “SNOW!”
We drag our one sled down to the neighborhood park for the “big hill”. This is a big deal for many reasons. Namely, it means taking on the complicated social skills of other children in the frenetic manic of snow. Not an easy fete for kids on the spectrum at any moment much less in the face of the delirium brought on by rare and wondrous precipitation. In my head, I call it snowgasming.
The first of many is the “sticking together” and “not running off” rule. This equated to them chasing each other down the hill as they took turns pushing each other on the sled.
I loved watching Owen run down the hill at the end of one of the rough descents to rescue “‘sista!”, ala-Parenthood (the movie), from the neighborhood bullies.
She didn’t need it though. She simply stood up and stared at them innocently. They looked up at me and I gave them “the look”. Ckenched snowballs were dropped and they walked away in a huff.
Owen held up a snowball and I hollered, “Rule #3!”
He yelled back, “I being kind!!!”
He scowled, dropped it, and growled at them. When they laughed in response he looked at me with wounded pride.
I tried to reassure him but it wasn’t enough. The boys’ parents were busy talking to each other and refused to make eye contact. I wasn’t going to let this ruin our day.
The bullies approached us again moments later, the parents didn’t intervene, and I calmly walked towards them to block their approach towards my kids and said in a low voice, “Get away from us.”
They muttered to each other and dropped the snowballs.
I looked over at Owen and he was staring at the ground smiling.
Leonora asked on the way home, “Why are some kids mean to me?”
I was honest, “It’s not you. Some people choose to be unkind because they don’t know any better, because they want to, or because they’re unhappy and want others to feel as badly.”
She smiled and asked, “Can you tell me a funny story?”
Her shorthand for changing the subject and asking me to make her laugh. It’s her way of coping when something upsets her. We bond over funny stories. Humor saves us all. That and remembering how magical snow can be for us all.