Before daylight Milo was perched in front of the wood stove, telling me the forecast, delighting in the possibility of snow. As siblings tromped down the stairs, we waited impatiently for the first flakes. Someone handed me our morning's book, and with my coffee cup in hand, we read about Shackleton's Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. "Were there elephants on Elephant Island?" Milo asked. We talked about elephant seals and pachyderms, and then it was time for chores and oatmeal and exclamations over the newly white world outside. He practiced his piano lesson, read aloud, helped Mercy with her spelling words, and worked division problems. Schoolwork completed, there were shoes and scarves to tie and snowmen to make.
Two years ago Milo was faltering at cracks in the sidewalk and using gestures to communicate. Today, after working through English grammar lessons and math story problems, he was a grinning participant in a snowball fight. Milo is eleven now. He plans on playing basketball someday like his big brothers, undettered by his polio-affected limbs. He loves to create and explore, sing and make music. He is brave and kind and tenacious, and it is a humbling gift to mother this child.
We could have missed this.
A dear girlfriend of mine lost her life just days ago. We are reeling here, our entire community attempting to navigate this grief. And as the snow continues to fall outside my window I am reminded that we don't know what days we are given, but we are asked to spend them well. As we long for heaven, we carve out a sliver here on earth. My arms are filled with treasures I could have never imagined. I am so thankful that we didn't miss the gift of Milo.