“Mom, build a snowman with me!” Declan said.

I didn’t want to build a snowman. I wanted to go in the house, drink coffee and clean my room so Santa wouldn’t be mad on Christmas Eve. Normally, I’m not a big room cleaner, but it’s a scientific fact if Santa trips and falls, he doesn’t leave presents. I told Declan he’d be cleaning his room, too. He recently watched “Home Alone” and set up Joe Pesci traps all over. His room needed pre-Christmas help.

IMG_2695“I’m going in to clean,” I said. I had to set a good example before I forced Declan to clean his room. He’s getting old enough to call the “hypocrite” card.

“Besides,” I said, “there isn’t enough snow. It can’t be done.”

Declan said it could be done and refused to come in the house.

I started tackling the Mt. Fuji of laundry in and around my basket. I figured if I could find the floor, I could lock myself in the bedroom and wrap presents. No one likes to wrap all night on Christmas Eve. An adult’s work is never done. It’s part of what makes us adults and not children. Age has very little to do with it. Children toss responsibility to the wind to play. Adults throw play out the window to accomplish something off a long list of tasks that wouldn’t make a dent in the universe in the final hour when all’s said and done.

A red flash passed by my bedroom window as I converted crumpled clothing into squares so I could wear it all again and make piles on the floor once more. It was a little boy rolling a very big snowball in zigzags all across the yard. His chicken legs strained to push further. The snowball was half his size and twice his weight–the bottom of the impossible snowman.

Declan was proving me wrong.

IMG_2712I spend my life fighting the “You can’ts” in education trying my best to prove the impossible possible, and I’d defaulted to “you can’t” mode with my own little boy. He turned the tables on me.

I raced outside and we made the best snowman ever.

“His name is Phil,” said Declan. We got a carrot for Phil and some rocks for his eyes. We gave him a nice smile.

“His teeth are falling out, Mommy.” I told Declan Phil better brush his teeth better, and that Phil would serve as a lesson about flossing to everyone driving by. Declan got two arms for Phil. We took a selfie with Phil to commemorate his birthday and most probably his final week of life because, I didn’t tell Declan, it’s supposed to be 50 degrees on Christmas.

We had a massive snowball fight and came in for hot cocoa. I cleaned my room and wrapped presents–all things that should’ve been way down on the list after  “play with a great little boy who won’t be so little forever.”

I shouldn’t have told Declan it was impossible to build a snowman. I shouldn’t tell him it’s impossible to do anything. I’m glad he proved me wrong. I won’t say the “i” word again. The less he knows things are impossible, the more he will achieve–that’s what they say, anyway.

Thank you, Phil, for the reminder. I’m sorry you’re going to die a slow, painful death so soon, but your lesson will live on in my heart, even if Christmas is 90 degrees.