We were outside on the balcony yesterday and today. Putting up Christmas lights. The sun was low and quickly fading. It wasn’t quite as cold today as it was yesterday, but as the sun set it became chillier. I could see my breath blowing through my chattering teeth. It was like smoke all around us. It all brought me back to a memory that happened over 40 years ago.
I was 8 years old again. Carefree and ice skating at the rink behind my elementary school. It was the middle of winter. Very cold. But, my 8 year old young self didn’t notice the single digit temps because I was having too much fun skating round and round with my friends. Not a worry in the world. I had a mom and a dad at home. I knew dinner would be waiting on the table for me when I got there. It was such a safe place, my childhood. It wasn’t always going to be that way. I didn’t know that then. But, at that moment, I was safe.
My safe place came in the form of a giant man with giant hands that would envelope my tiny hands to keep them warm. My hands were trembling and numb. Frozen solid from too many hours of ice skating. Red and white blotched hands that came from not noticing the time and having too much fun. It wasn’t until I began walking home that I realized I couldn’t feel my finger tips. By the time I reached my doorway I was crying hysterically.
Within minutes my hands were cupped inside my father’s hands. From there he placed them under his arm pits. It was like a furnace under there! My tiny hands remained in this warm place until sensation returned to my fingertips. It was the best feeling in the world. I think I stayed there an extra couple of minutes just to hang on to that warmth and safety for as long as I could. I’m glad I did.