How can you keep your personal information safe from online scammers on the dark web? Find out on AARP Live at 10 p.m. ET.
by Susan J. Grodsky, AARP Bulletin, February 13, 2009
The first snow of the year was falling outside our house in Silver Spring, Md. I was 4 years old and had a fever.
“I want to go out and play!” I cried.
“You can’t,” said my mother. “You’re sick. You’re staying inside.”
I begged, I whimpered, I whined, I screamed. My mother sat me on the narrow bench in the breakfast nook of our tiny kitchen. She wiped my damp forehead as her face got that set, tight look. “You’re staying inside.”
“I’ll wear my snowsuit,” I promised. I hated my bulky, restrictive snowsuit. I usually cried when I was forced to put it on. But if that’s what it took to be outside, where the flakes were beginning to cling to the grass, I would do it.
My mother took the stack of nested mixing bowls from the cupboard and held the blue one toward me. The blue bowl was “my bowl”—the smallest bowl in the set for the smallest person in the family. “Help me bake a pie? Don’t you want to help me bake a pie?” she cajoled.
“I want to play in the snow,” I cried. It was snowing. Snow! All the other kids would be outside. My brother got to go outside. I needed to go outside. It wasn’t fair!
Suddenly, my mother smiled. “OK. You’re going to play in the snow.”
She took the big bowl from the set, the green one that was too large for me to hold. “Stay here,” she warned as she disappeared down the front hall. I heard the door open and close.
The next thing I knew, she was placing the bowl—full of snow—in front of me.
I formed snowballs and stacked them on the table. I made a tiny snowman and set him in the middle of the bowl. Soon, my snow creations melted into a puddle in the bottom of the bowl.
I had my fun, but now I was cold. My mother took my stiff hands between hers and rubbed them until they were warm. “Hot chocolate?” she asked.
When it snows, I remember my mother’s clever ways of managing my cranky obsession. And I remember how much she loved me.
The AARP Bulletin’s "What I Really Know" column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Susan J. Grodsky is a reader from Potomac, Md.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at