Lila’s knees hit her chest with every step, yet she insisted on walking. Her mittened hand clung tightly to my own as she trudged her way through. Each firmly planted foot earned her a satisfying crunch and the smile that spread across her ruddy face was all I needed to know that to her, the effort was worth it.
A gaggle of squeals and giggles drifted toward us and I could feel the excited anticipation vibrating from Lila’s body the closer we got. When she caught shocks of primary colors flashing between tree trunks, she let go of my hand, and with the intention of running, she fell face first. For a moment she just lay there, unmoving. I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up, saddened at the thought of her initial excitement dwindling away.
Lila’s face was covered in freshly fallen snow and as I wiped it away, her eyes popped open. A squeal escaped through her smile that rivaled those we had been heading toward. She clapped her hands and the snow dislodged and rained down toward the ground.
Frosty and numb, my cheeks rose as her joy bolstered my own smile. By the time we had reached the other children, they had tamped the snow down enough to give Lila the freedom she had desired. She pulled free from my hand and ran into the fray. One of dozens of kids, Lila’s laughter served as a beacon.
I thought about how I’d cursed the snow as I looked out the window this morning. How I had resented it for ruining my day before it had even begun. But now I couldn’t imagine ever looking out to discover it had snowed and not being reminded of the sweetest sound I had ever heard.