Eight years ago, I was just about to become a mommy for the first time. While my husband went to work, I wandered around the house, waiting. I don’t know what I did while I waited. Time felt less precious then, and I didn’t mark it the way I do now; it simply evaporated, unnoticed. I’m sure I slept late. I took quite a few long baths. I folded and re-folded teeny tiny clothes. I worried. And I waited.
The winter of 2007, like this one, had been virtually snow-less, and I really wanted it to snow so that my teacher-husband could stay at home with me, waiting. Being expectant is a round-the-clock job, and it’s less cumbersome with company. The transformation that awaited us would be so complete, it seemed impossible. Changing from no one’s parent to someone’s parent isn’t a gradual evolution. It isn’t like the way summer becomes winter. It isn’t like the way that toothless baby boy would turn into an almost-8-year-old, a jumble of unruly hair, over-sized teeth, and potty humor. No, becoming a parent is a sudden shift, like going to bed on a green world and waking up under a layer of thick, still snow. Only it lasts forever.
In a poetically beautiful coincidence, my water broke and it began to snow at almost the same moment, on a Sunday morning in mid-January. By the next morning, I was holding a brown-eyed baby boy and looking out the hospital window at a whitewashed universe. Everything had changed.
Eight years and three kids later, I still wish it would snow, so that my teacher-husband could stay at home with me. It’s true that the shine has worn off of parenthood, and I don’t spend my days longing to hold those little people in my arms anymore. Nevertheless, when other moms complain that they dread snow days, I try not too look too smug: How clever I am, to have married a teacher! When the kids are home, he is home. Snow days are nothing but sweetness and light at our house, all hot cocoa and melting marshmallows, all button eyes and carrot noses. I’m a lucky momma.
So far, this year, the snow has skirted the northern borderlines of our county over and over again. We’ve watched the radar as green blobs broke into bits just to our west. The closest we’ve come to a real snow occurred the first night of Christmas vacation, when a light dust fell while we slept. The next morning, when the kids donned their snow apparel and requested a carrot for their snowman, I tried not to laugh. I said, “Once you build your snowman, I’ll give you a carrot.” Thirty minutes or so later, I heard the back door open and the little voice of my youngest said, “Mommy! We’re ready for the carrot nose!”
Every flake of snow in the backyard had been enlisted in this creation:
Resourceful little boogers!
No true snow days, not yet, but last week, the first week of second semester, the intense cold resulted in a couple of two-hour delays, which offer just a glimpse of the glory of a full-blown snow day, but even two-hour delays deserve a tiny bit of celebration. These blueberry muffins–warm and sweet, a pastiche of summertime purple, an echo of golden yolks and butter–are just the thing for a special morning that will give way to a magically shortened day. Whip some up for your babies next time the weather gods gift you two extra hours of morning before you bustle them out into the world:
Blueberry Muffins with Salted Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (Wild blueberries work best. Check the frozen fruit section in your grocery store.)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease your muffin tins or line them with papers.
2. Beat together your melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat them really well so that they become fluffy and light in color. Then whisk in your buttermilk.
3. Add your dry ingredients all at once and stir just until combined. Then add your blueberries (thawed and well-drained) and mix briefly until they are well-distributed.
4. Distribute the batter evenly between twelve muffin cups. Bake them just until they rise and turn golden. In my oven, this takes about 15 minutes.
5. Let them cool for a few minutes or you will scald your tongue with the burst berry juices. (I’m not sure it’s not worth it, but that’s just me.) Serve them with some salted butter. I promise: salted butter really brings out the brightness in the berries.