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After three full months of snow and only one half-day’s respite from school to show for it, my son announced one morning that he was "done with snow." He philosophized: "If I don’t get a snow day, then it’s no good to me."

However, snow was not quite done with us. The ragged edge of winter dragged on, in dirty piles of leftover snow, gray skies and muddy yards.

In early March, the remnants were almost gone, when a new snow storm brought six inches and another chapter of winter weather. The day of my son’s pronouncement dawned on a marshmallow world, but he was unmoved.

Snow should stay in December, January and February where it belongs, he said. White Christmas is all well and good, but when the next holiday is St. Patrick’s Day, a little green would be nice.

Even I grew tired of the monochromatic color scheme. I have always been a fan of winter, one of those annoying people who love snow, in spite of shoveling sidewalks, scraping windshields, driving on slushy roads and withering comments from more practical people.

Perhaps it’s an inherited trait, because my dad loved snow too. His favorite duty station in his Air Force career was Eielson AFB, Alaska, where snow is measured in feet, not inches.

Maybe my affinity for winter is rooted in grade-school memories of that assignment: Neighborhood snow-shoveling parties and hot chocolate, sliding down mounds of piled-up snow; white Christmases — white Halloweens and Easters too, for that matter.

But this long hard winter has worn out its welcome all over the world, not just in my backyard. One February day, snow fell in every state except Hawaii. In my Oklahoma hometown, and many others, ice storms destroyed trees, damaged homes and downed power lines.

My father died in the middle of this winter, when the snow he loved covered the ground here in Germany and his home in Oklahoma. Harsh weather and other circumstances dictated that his funeral would be put off until May. So I suppose that ever since this year began, when winter was at its deepest and coldest, I’ve been waiting for spring.

Am I waiting for a thaw, for a date on the calendar, for "Taps" and a folded flag, for "closure," whatever that means? I don’t know, but I knew I could not just sit still and wait.

I went to Oklahoma in February. The ice was gone, the landscape gray and ravaged.

It was not spring, but it was not a funeral trip, either. It was a journey to reaffirm life, both new and enduring. I visited our son at college and tromped through a Texas snowstorm with him. I shopped and sipped coffee with my mom and sisters. I held my three-month-old niece for the first time. I had cake and ice cream with my grandmother at her 90th birthday party.

Life has an eternal spring — in new babies and nonagenarians — that spans every season.

I returned to Germany in time for the March snow and my son’s denunciation of it. Well, springtime snow is nothing new here. One year, an Easter snowstorm blanketed the daffodils in our yard. They survived to tell of spring. Their buried bulbs will rise to see many more.

I can wait for spring. I can take the snow — even without a snow day — because I know the daffodils are under there waiting, too.

Terri Barnes is a military wife living Germany. Contact her at or on the Spouse Calls blog at


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