It doesn’t snow in Texas. As adults, we’ve come to accept it. But for kids across the state, including my own, they hold out hope every year. A real snowman. A snowball fight. Even snow angels. And the pinnacle – an actual snow day complete with school closing. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

It all started two nights ago. The weatherman showed radar of snow headed our way. This time it would reach us, rather than rewarding only friends and family to our west. And this time it was going to stick. Preemptive strikes by some school districts promised delayed starts of 10am. Ours seemed to be the lone holdout. By 8pm, the weatherman’s promise was realized. A two inch blanket had fallen and it was still coming. A few minutes later I found myself outside with bundled-up kids, in the dark, building a snowman. He wasn’t huge, by any standards, but big enough to dress in hat, scarf and support his sand-shovel arms. My husband thought we were nuts for playing in the dark. “It might be gone tomorrow.” I said as I ran back outside with the camera.

By 11pm, the kids were asleep and I checked KLTV’s website once more for school closings. Nothing. I looked outside and saw it was still coming down. At 5:30am I woke to see – and hear – my son jumping up and down. “I just went online and there is no school!” he said. We politely reminded him that there was no need to be up, let alone shouting. Back to bed we sent him. But like a kid on Christmas morning, sleeping wasn’t easy.

By 6:30am the whole family was up and kids were layering on clothes, locating gloves and hats. It really was like Christmas – my husband and I trying to get them to wait long enough for us to grab cameras. I was amused to see them get dressed with such lightning speed – layer upon layer upon layer. The snow looked impressive through the window, but when we walked outside we were awestruck.

About 6 inches of the thickest snow I’d ever seen had transformed our neighborhood into a Norman Rockwall painting – artfully covering trees, lawns and rooftops. Like a gift from Heaven, the pure white blanket was beautifully blinding. But the joy on my children’s faces was the real gift, as I watched them kick, jump, roll and even taste the snow. We spent the next several hours building snowgirls and boys, made snow angels and threw snowballs. One by one our neighbors joined us. Kids were squealing with delight as us parents took pictures and videos, hoping to document each sweet second. By mid-morning the whole neighborhood was out in force. Snowpeople were erected in every yard on our street, each one delightfully charming in his – or her – own way.

With our faces and toes firmly frozen, we headed inside. I had flashbacks to my own childhood in upstate New York as we unpeeled the layers of clothes, wet and exhausted. Like my mom did for me, I made us all hot cocoa. We drank it happily as we recapped our adventures. “This is the greatest day ever!” my son declared. I couldn’t have said it better myself.  

Today the snow is mostly gone. This is Texas, and it is practically a state requirement that the weather change daily. My daughter suggested we drive through the neighborhood to see if any snowmen were still standing, as ours had sadly lost their heads overnight. A few holdouts stood strong, but most were reduced to piles of slush, like the sad scene from “Frosty” – hats, scarves and shovels remaining in the grass. “It’s kind of sad,” she said. I wished like crazy I could quote the movie and promise, like Santa did, that they would be back again someday. But who knows? After all this is Texas and it hasn’t snowed like this in 28 years.  

“Yesterday was a perfect day, wasn’t it?” I ask, rhetorically. We drove back home in silence. I am reminded that the best things in life really are free.