Monday, February 3, 2014

The Snow Dragon.

I could hear the cow bellowing up in the barn.

The snow was falling fast, flakes the size of dimes.
I thought of telling Violet to run up to the barn and check why there was so much mooing coming from the barn, but the bull, who seems to get larger and more rambunctious with each passing day made me think otherwise.  I decided I had better head to the barn in case he'd found a way out of his pen.

I checked the situation and realized it was just the mama cow that the farmer must have separated from her baby before he had left for work. As I started back toward the house,
the beautiful white world made me stop and stand in awe of God's simple but stunning canvas.

As I stood there, taking it all in,
I noticed a very large snowball sitting in the yard.
Not far away was the little boy who claimed he had made it,
"to see the biggest snowball I could make.
It just rolls and rolls and keeps getting bigger and bigger."

As I looked at him, I realized I had put him off a lot lately.

"Come do the microscope with me, Mom."
"Come play with the play dough with me."
"Come help me put my Christmas Lego set together, Mom."
"Come play battle ship or do a puzzle with me."
He always asked with such hopeful voice.

I had turned him away with, "I'm too busy right now.  I have to get my work done.
Ask your sisters."

The guilt suddenly hit me as I watched him playing
in the snow.

I knew he would love for me to build a snowman with him,
something I had never made time to make with him yet.

I squatted in the snow and formed the distantly familiar shape of the snowball and began rolling it through the snow.
This snow was perfect for snowmen, heavy and sticky, but not wet.

By the time I had reached near where he was at,
I had to tell him to come help me.

"Let's build something," I said.

"Do you mean a snowman?" he asked, eyes sparkling.

"Well, kind of.  Let's build something better."

We rolled the two snowballs together.
He ran inside to recharge with fresh, dry mittens while I started piling the snow onto the two snowballs. 


 I hoped it would be taking shape by the time he got back,
and it was.

"A snow dragon!" he smiled when he got back outside.

We worked together and eventually the girls came out and worked with us for a while.

When the girls left to go fix some hot chocolate and scrounge up lunch,
I stayed out with Levi.

I remembered back to when I was a child and my neighbor friend's mom had built a magnificent snow creature.  I watched her start it and work on shaping and then creating the details of it.

I remember feeling overwhelmed at how much time she was spending on it,
how she stuck with it until it was done several hours later.
I remember feeling like I could never do something so huge and incredible like that.

"I'm tired, Mom.  This is really hard work.  I could use some help over here,"
he was packing snow around the tail, making it look rounded, as I had just shown him."

"Everything that is worth doing in life is going to be work at some time, Levi.
Just stick with it and before you know it, the job will be done."

"But it is so much to do.  It is so big.  We'll never get done."
Discouragement was setting in.

"Don't look at the whole dragon.  Just look at that little section of the tail you are working on.
It looks too hard and too much when you think about all that is left to do."

It wasn't too long before I heard, "I need some help over here.  I can't do this,"
he wanted to give up.

"Levi, if I have to stop and help you, the section that I am working on will not get done.
My helping you will mean my work doesn't get done.
Do the best you can.  I know you can do it."

As we continued to move through the snow and work on sections, we talked and complimented each others work. 

"Does this tongue look okay, Levi."

"No, it doesn't look like a tongue, how about making some fire,"
he answered.

"Fire?  How am I going to make fire out of snow?"

As things progressed, I could see his discouragement phase had passed.
The creature was really starting to look better
and the end was not too far away to see.

"We just need to make some claws on the front paw and add some wings,
and we'll be done," he sounded excited now.

"Perhaps when we finish, I can send a picture of our dragon in to the news."
As I told him this, his eyes lit up.

"You mean, we can be famous?" he asked.

I laughed, "Yes, famous for our snow dragon."

"But what if other people see what we have made and want to copy us?"
he looked worried that our dragon would become a creature on everybody's front lawn and not special just to us.

I laughed, "I don't think everybody is going to go outside and build a snow dragon like ours, Levi,
but even if they did, it is a fun thing to share."

I could see him thinking and reconsidering that it might not be so bad to see snow dragons on every front lawn as we drove down the street.

As we patted our dragon to a finish, the joy in Levi's face was priceless:

"Take my picture with my dragon, now, Mom.
We did a great job on it, didn't we?"
he scanned his snow pet as he stepped up beside it.

That creature took several hours of the day out in a snowstorm.
 Doubtless, it will disappear within a week or two.
  Back in the house, the dishes are still in the sink,
 the wet laundry is still in the washer,
my list of  things "to-do" still has nothing "done" on it;
but somehow, I feel like those hours were ones that will be of so much more value than having my list done.  My little boy and I realized the value of sticking to hard work;
of not quitting, even when the job seems too big to conquer;
the joy of seeing a job completed;
the fun of working together and being helpful,
the boost that encouragement gives,
how to give and take criticism without too much offense
(even though my fire still does not look like fire);
figuring out a way to make things happen.

It is dark now, and I just saw Levi slip his coat on and disappear out the door.

"Where is he going?" my farmer asked.
"He's going to visit his dragon," I responded.

The dragon may be made of snow,
but I'm pretty sure the memory and the lessons we both learned won't melt with it.

(Our Snow Dragon with Levi's favorite Bible verses).


  1. Great job! And the wonderful memory you made with Levi.

  2. You are such a creative and wise mother, Tonya. How much you have taught him…a life lesson!..,and far more valuable than having the dishes done.

    Loved this.


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  4. Dear Tonya,
    Fabulous job on the snow dragon! Please tell Levi that Mrs. Anna LOVES the picture of him and His Snow dragon. Give them all a hug for me. Thanks


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