On Christmas Eve, my siblings and I slip down a snowy hill behind the church. Silent and uneasy, we approach the cold, gray stone. It has been only weeks since we last huddled together on this same hill and buried our mother.
I grip tight to my sister’s hand, cold and strong. I close my eyes and try to capture memories that swirl like flakes of snow in the wintry air. I see my mother clear as ice…
Floating down to moonlit snow, arms and legs in harmony, she forms an impression of an angel.
Snow falls on my face, melts, mingles with tears, and then slips away. I open my eyes and study my two sisters and brother, all grown-up but now aching for a mom.
She rises with a halo of crystals clinging to her hair. Looking up to the night sky, she sings.
I see reflections of my mother in their blue eyes as we tumble back into soft snow, and slide arms and legs together to make snow angels. As tiny flakes fall from a heavy sky and cover the gravestone, we sing songs to our mother.
My siblings and I join her solo praise with giggles as we dive in the soft snow and imitate angel children.
These songs reverberate throughout the years until I teach my own children to make snow angels. One winter evening, with giggles and squeals of delight, we create our own angel family underneath a moonlit sky. Later, when the house is dark and quiet, I peer out my window and see their small impressions illuminated in the snow. I smile and look up.
Again I see my mother, looking toward a starry sky, arms embracing heaven.
She smiles and sings, loudly and clearly, “From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold!”*
From “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by Edmund Hamilton Sears.
Sarah Clouser is a former high school English teacher and current stay-at-home mom. Instead of lesson plans and grading, she now stays busy chasing her two young kids around the house and writing. You can find some of her thoughts on parenting and children on her blog, onemilesmile.wordpress.com.