Hour after hour, the snow came down. Sometimes it would softly flutter from the sky. Other times, the wind would pick up and blow the snow against everything exposed leaving visible evidence on all that had been in its way. Then the winds would die down and little frozen droplets would rain from above until finally after numerous cycles of winds, flakes, calm, and beads of ice the ground was cover in a deep, puffy layer of white.
After making our noon prayers, we couldn't wait any longer. Bundling up, we headed for the huge nearby park. Arriving at its gate, we beheld a breathtaking sight. The valley with its green hills, open fields, pine forest, and orchard had been miraculously transformed into a winter wonderland where the blades of grass were buried and each branch was outlined by a glistening surface of white.
My children, their friends from the neighborhood, and I set out for the top of the nearest powder-covered, treeless slope. Getting to work we packed down a track in the snow from the top to the bottom of the hill eagerly anticipating the thrill of sliding down as soon as it was done. Up and down we walked the hill pressing each possible bump of snow down in an effort to form a smooth path.
All warmed up from the exertion of our preparations, we were now ready to whiz down the slope on a large plastic saucer. One by one I watched the children take off rushing downward with bits of snow dust flying in their faces as they sometimes whirled around before wiping out halfway to or at the bottom. No matter what the result they were happy and hurriedly made their way back to the top of the hill to take their turn again.
Not to get cold, I too participated in the fun. And oh what fun it was! Standing at the top of a hill for the first time in my life about to learn of this joyful exercise, I said, "Bismillah," and pushed off. Being heavier than the kids I flew down the hill and happily crashed in to a bank of snow. How grateful I was at that moment that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had taught us the importance of playing with our children. To see them laughing and participate with them in fun, healthy things was truly a blessing in itself for us all. But to know that even playing with children has its rewards from Allah made it all the more special to me.
Before long they will be grown, and I will be old. We won't be able to play like this anymore. Only Allah knows how many times that day I said, "Allah is glorified and by me," out of gratitude for the Prophet's example in valuing these precious gifts Allah has given us in our children and the joy we can share. May we all increase in our appreciation of our Creator and nurture our love for Him and His messenger. Amen.