Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Favourite Holiday Memory

As an Australian who has lived in Australia most of her life, I almost missed the best holiday experience of my life. Except, luckily, there was that brief interlude where I lived in America for about a year and a half. And in that brief period I got to experience the most wonderful holiday experience of my life; one I had never experienced before, and am yet to experience again. In fact, I don't think I'll ever get lucky enough for things to work out the way they did that day.

My holiday experiences in America were all wonderful and movie-perfect. Holidays fell in the correct seasons, I experienced Thanksgiving, a real Halloween, and a Fourth of July complete with fireworks in the street next to our wooden house (thanks guys). But really, none compare to what occurred on my Birthday Eve.

Are birthdays holidays? They should be!

I had never seen snow before in my life, but I'd always wanted to. It was definitely something on my bucket list. I wanted to see soft flakes falling, I wanted to build a snowman, I wanted to see everything covered in a cold blanket of white.

At the time of November 22, 2010, we lived just north of Seattle. I'd been cautioned that although it does snow in Seattle, it doesn't necessarily happen every year, and sometimes it's nothing more than just a flurry in the air that doesn't stick. But I was certain it would happen for me.

November 22nd is the day before my birthday: my birthday eve, if you will. I had been carefully checking the weather forecast every day like a girl possessed. I saw 'snow showers' being forecast, then changing, then forecast again, then going away again. It was driving me crazy. But, on that day, I saw it: the first white flakes swirling in the air. I saw the light dusting of powder settle on the hood of the car, on the pavement.

The flurry begins.

"It's snowing!" I was so excited I could hardly even stand it. Again, I was warned. The temperatures hadn't dropped below freeing yet, and it was far too early for real snow. Those might be flakes you see on the car and on the pavement, but they won't stick. You watch: the ground is too warm. The snow will melt before it can build up.

I was disappointed. We went to the store, we came home and did a few things. I caught glances out the window now and then, and I even went outside a few times to see the scattering of flakes and to attempt to catch a snowflake on my tongue (and failed miserably).

It was dark by late afternoon, so we had dinner and I put Felix, at that time a baby, to bed. We sat around and relaxed. We watched a movie. A few hours passed.

My sister-in-law Marissa had been outside for some reason or another, and that's when I saw what had happened.

The entire street, the neighbourhood, the world, had turned into a winter wonderland! Thick white snow covered everything in sight. The street had disappeared, and the snow kept falling, illuminated by the yellow glow of the street lights. Real snow! Real snow for me, the night before my birthday!

I wasted no time in throwing on the warmest clothes I had (jeans, boots and a borrowed ski jacket) and I ran gleefully out into the snow. I didn't care that it was 10pm and the neighbours were sleeping. I ran up and down that street. I made footprints in the snow. I gathered snow into snowballs and felt the icy pricks of pain extend through my bare fingers. I threw myself on the ground and made a snow angel. I watched the occasional car slowly make its way up our street in the darkness, the headlights making the snow shine. I played out in the snow until I physically couldn't stand the cold any longer, and I finally headed inside.

The next day I woke up a year older and to a beautiful landscape of snow glittering in the sunshine. I can't remember how long the snow stuck around for, and we did have several snow showers that melted away that winter, but I'll never forget the time it snowed just for me.


  1. It's amazing the few and far between times in our adult lives that we can still actually feel like kids. Strong, powerful, true emotions. Beautiful, and a little heartbreaking, because these moments, and remembering these moments, can make our day to day seem a little dull and gray. Happy birthday in advance!


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