on snow days and awaiting baby

It snowed today, not much, but enough to cancel school and send down satisfyingly puffy white flakes for a short time.  When enough had fallen to coat the street we began the laborious process of getting everyone dressed to go outside - 2 pairs of pants, shirts, fleece, jackets, hats, gloves, rainboots.  The littlest one ranted and raved about how uncomfortable she was.  The older 2 managed fairly well on their own, a newer development this winter for which I am truly grateful.  With final complaints about shrinking boots (or could it be growing feet?) and a mad dash for the camera, we opened the back door and stepped out into the falling flecks of white.
It was, as always, magical.  Faces upturned, tongues outstretched, hair collecting bits of snow.  Aida and Sophie ran to the slide - the place where the most snow had collected - and gathered enough to make a few powdery snowballs.  Daddy went to find the sled.  Lucy joined the snowball “fight.”  I snapped a few photos and fixed mittens and hats and tried to memorize it all, these sweet happy faces and little shouts of joy and bits of ice and snow flying.
Daddy pronounced the street out front sleddable and the party quickly changed course.  I stood with Lucy in the front yard, my sweater and winter coat both on but neither able to button as my large belly amassed its own collection of snowflakes.  I thought about Emmie curled tightly inside, floating and warm and wiggling.  I thought about bringing her into this cold world with its ice and wind and all its heartache.  I thought, maybe she knows what she’s doing, camping out where it’s cozy and refusing to make her appearance.
I glanced over at my Lu sitting directly in the snow on the driveway, scooping small piles of white onto her mittens and stuffing them into her mouth.  She smiled at me, hat slightly askew and nose pink.  Sophie and Elijah rode past, bodies leaning hard to the right in an attempt to avoid prematurely crash-landing in our neighbor’s lawn.  The sled cut through the quarter inch of snow and scraped along the street.  The 2 of them stood, triumphant, and then Aida quickly went to take her turn.  I breathed in the chilly air.  I breathed in the beauty of the bodies around me.
When toes were numb we tracked water and snow inside, removing soaked layers and hustling for warm, dry clothes.  I poured milk into a saucepan, watched as my whisk dissolved flakes of dark chocolate into it, got down the marshmallows and the teacups.  The heater ran, clicked off for a few minutes, and groaned back on again.  The girls stirred until their marshmallows completely dissolved and then drank.  (Lucy spilled all over her dress. Time for outfit #3.)
I thought about Emmie again, and how she’s bound to make her entrance into this cold world soon.  And I thought about pink noses and shouts of wonder and hot chocolate and a heater.  Come on, little girl.  We’re ready to keep you warm.