Snowstorm! Eleven blizzardy inches fell last night. Through it all, life kept happening. My son and my niece are home from college, and one of my son's friends from high school is also here, and my daughter has a couple of friends staying over. She and her two friends went to a party last night, with my husband and me driving them there and picking them up after, just as our parents used to do for us when we were teenagers. Except we were growing up in Jamaica and Antigua, where driving distances were short and the nights were always balmy.
The cold last night was the least of it. The snow was harrowing to drive in, and as we made our way from Harlem to Soho to pick up our girl from the holiday party for her scholars program, I glimpsed for the first time how terrifying it must be to navigate a blizzard in rural parts, with no visible landmarks. We inched our way down the highway, picking our way through more traffic than you would imagine in such a snowstorm. When we got there almost an hour later, our daughter and her two friends skipped out to the car and chattered happily the whole way home, totally unaware of all the concentration it was taking for me to psychically keep cars away from us on the treacherous road.
Even though it was midnight by the time we got home, the girls, all of them 15 years old, changed out of their party clothes and bundled up to go play in the snow as they did when they were 7, making snow angels, rolling down slopes, catching snowflakes on their tongues. My son had the good sense to wrap himself in a blanket on the couch and watch movies with his friend and exchange man banter with his dad.
My niece had left earlier to meet friends way out in Brooklyn, and almost got marooned there in the 12 inches of snow that fell on us last night. She eventually slept at a friend's house, and left early this morning to come home in daylight. She is catching a flight home to Kingston, Jamaica at 2 p.m., so her mom and dad were on the phone first thing this morning, checking to see whether the airports were open in spite of the snow. They are.
The snow has stopped falling now. The sun is high in the sky, doing nothing for the chilly temperatures. The little kids were out early, sledding on the hill in front of our building while my husband cooked scrambled eggs and spicy sausages for the household. With some amusement, I watched my niece getting ready to go to the airport, groggily stuffing things in her suitcase, her face bare and dry, the desire to just curl up and sleep overwhelming her. She reminded me so much of myself when I was in college, partying all night, rolling out to the curb from the dorm with my suitcase at 6 a.m. to climb into my Uncle Charlie's car for the trip to the airport.
We've just dropped her off at the airport and arrived back home to find our son still on the couch, the blanket now on the floor beside him. He's meeting the day slowly. Our daughter had another engagement today. She and some school friends are baking cookies to hand out to firefighters. It's a tradition started by her friend Julia's family after 9/11. My girl, new to her school last year, is thrilled to be included in this annual event with all the longtimers. Then tonight she has another party, and she and four other girls plan on sleeping over at another friend's house. Meanwhile, our son is heading out later to show off the city to one of his college friends whose flight to Atlanta has been grounded until tomorrow. But first, he wants to go see the movie Avatar with his parents.
All around us, life is happening. My husband and I putter at the center of it all, contented.