You hummed to yourself as you prepared a snack. Your son Ivan would be coming home from school soon and you were continuing your tradition of after school snack time. Today it was peanut butter and apple slices, the perfect meal for a first grader. You heard the front door open and close.
“Ivan, sweetie. Is that you?” you called out.
You heard footsteps hurry through the house, and your darling son ran into the kitchen with tears in his eyes. Immediately you got you your knees and opened your arms. Ivan ran into them and buried his face in your shoulder. You stroked his hair, making shushing noises.
“What wrong, Ivan?” you asked.
“No one likes me Mama, they all say I’m weird,” Ivan sobbed to you.
You frowned. You didn’t like it when your son was upset. You moved him to the couch and wiped away his tears.
“Weird how?” you asked, handing him a tissue.
“They’re scared of me and say that I have a big nose, and sound funny,” Ivan sniffled.
You smiled and brushed his hair out of his eyes.
“Baby, you don’t sound funny. You were born in Russia, so you speak with an accent. When they make fun of your nose, just tell them that maybe their noses are too small,” you said, tickling his tummy.
Ivan giggled, tears drying from his eyes. You marveled at how quickly children were able to forget and recover.
“And you’re not scary, hon. You’re just a little intimidating because you’re taller than the other kids, but they’ll grow soon, and you’ll all be the same size,” you said hugging him.
Ivan smiled and hugged you back.
“Do you want your snack now? Its peanut butter and apple slices,” you offered.
“Can we make a snowman Mama?” Ivan pleaded with you.
“After your snack, Ivan,” you smiled.
“Yay!” Ivan cheered.
Ivan ran to the counter and began to happily munch his apple slices. You took the opportunity to prepare Ivan’s winter clothes. You laid out a pair of snow pants, boots, mittens, and a long winter coat. You would put out your son’s scarf, but he was currently wearing it. In fact, there was rarely a time he wasn’t wearing it.
“Mama?” Ivan called from the kitchen.
“Yes, darling, in here,” you called. “Come get ready.”
As Ivan got dressed, you walked into your room and locked the door. You began to get dressed in your winter clothes. When you finished, there was a soft knock at your door.
“Mama, are you done? I wanna play,” he whined.
You laughed and opened the door. Ivan stood there, adorably bundled in his puffy winter clothing, reminding you of a marshmallow. You smiled and took his hand.
“Let’s go have fun,” you said.
When the two of you got outside, Ivan wasted no time in creating a snowman. The snowman was small, and the snowballs were misshapen, but Ivan looked so happy that you decided to leave well enough alone. As Ivan started his second snowman, you began to create your own.
You weren’t paying attention as you finished construction on your snowman’s head. Next thing you knew, a snowball had collided with your head. Giggling erupted behind you.
“I got you Mama!” Ivan said, partially hidden behind his snowman.
You grinned mischievously and balled up a snowball of your own.
“True, grasshopper, but now I have you!” You exclaimed, chucking your snowball across the yard at your son.
You spent the next thirty minutes engaged in a snowball death match with your six-year old. You held back of course, but only a little. Your son might be emotional and crave companionship but he was probably one of the most competitive people you knew.
Suddenly Ivan jumped onto your back and dragged the two of you down into the snow. The two of you rolled around in the snow for a while, until you pinned him down and showered his face with kisses. Ivan shrieked and giggled and squirmed out from under you. You let him up, and you both lay on your backs, panting.
Ivan looked at you and smiled. He began to pump his arms and legs back and forth.
“C’mon Mama, make a snow angel with me!” he urged you.
You smiled back and began to create your own snow angel. When you finished, you rolled out of your creation and helped Ivan out of his. You both looked at the angels, and Ivan tugged on your sleeve.
“Do you like your snow angel Mama? Do you wanna make another one?” he asked innocently.
“No sweetie, I think it’s time we went inside and warmed up,” you said picking him up. “Besides, you’re the only snow angel I need.”
Ivan smiled and cuddled up into your arms. You carried him into the house and started a pot of hot chocolate.
The rest of the night was spent laughing, playing board games and watching movies. When it was nighttime, you helped Ivan into his pajamas and tucked him into bed. As you turned to leave, Ivan called out to you.
“Mama? Will you sing to me before you go?” he asked.
You returned to his bed and sat on the edge of it. You began to softly sing a Russian lullaby and rhythmically stroked his hair. Ivan’s purple eyes began to droop and droop until finally, he was sound asleep. You leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“Goodnight little snow angel.”