Catch a Snowflake in Your Hand

By
"Do you see that snowflake, Maria?"

A woman, in her late twenties, held a little girl in her arms. The little girl and woman both looked up to the heavens, as the first snowflakes of the year fell from the sky. The little girl stretched her arms out toward them, gloved fingers spread.

"Yes, Mommy!" Maria replied, squealing when one of the cold flakes landed on her face.

The woman smiled down at her precious little one. "Did you know, Maria," she said, "that all snowflakes are different? That no two snowflakes are exactly alike?"

Maria looked up at her mother, wide-eyed. "Really?"

She nodded. "Yes, and just like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike. Like how everyone has different dreams for the future, too."

The girl was puzzled. "So, people and dreams are snowflakes?"

The woman chuckled. "I'll tell you something now, Maria." She hugged her daughter closer. "Everytime a child is born, or a dream is created or comes true, a snowflake will fall just for that child or dream. There is a snowflake for every person on this Earth. The hardest part, is catching one in your hand and holding on to it."

Maria looked up at her mother. "Mommy, next year, I will definitely catch a snowflake for you."

"Thank you, Maria." The woman smiled down at her daughter, tenderness and warmth that only a mother that truly loves her child can posses filling her eyes. "I'm sure that the snowflakes you catch will be the most beautiful in the world, because they are your dreams, and different from anyone else's."

Maria laughed, and ran from her mother's arms to play in the snow. Looking back once, she saw a single tear slide down her mother's face.


Maria woke, eyes opening slowly. A small smile curved her lips, and a lone tear slipped from the corner of her eye. She lay in bed for a moment instead of getting up, reflecting on the dream. It only came once a year, and every time, it was as clear as the day that it had taken place. Maria, now sixteen, had been six when her mother had first spoken those words to her. It had always just been Maria and her mother, as her father had died when she was a baby. At that time, Maria hadn't understood why her mother had cried, but now she did.

Maria's mother had known that Maria would never be able to give her a snowflake, because Maria's mother knew that she was going to die before that. She had had a serious illness, and knew that she would only live two, three months more at most. She hadn't told Maria, knowing the trauma this would cause a child of six. Though, sometimes Maria wished she had told her. At least then it would have been a bit easier to accept what she was seeing the morning she'd walked in to find her mother in a heap on the kitchen floor.

Maria sighed. When that happened, Maria felt she had begun to understand what her mother had meant about catching a snowflake in your hand and holding on to it. Because no matter what you do, even the slightest bit of heat will make the snowflake melt away. Just like how people and dreams will eventually disappear as well.

With those thoughts in mind, Maria had grown up sad and depressed, believing that there was no point in life if everything was just going to melt away someday. She even went so far as to attempt to take her own life. Her wrists now bore silvery scars. She would have probably attempted it again, if she hadn't met Hannah. Hannah, whose little six year old hand had reached out to a fifteen year old Maria. Hannah, whose's little hand had managed to make her feel a gentle warmth in her chest for the first time. Hannah, the little girl who had managed to save Maria from the brink of the abyss. Hannah, who had made Maria move in with her and started to call Maria 'Big Sissy'. Hannah, who had given Maria a home again.

Maria wouldn't be able to call her adoptive parents 'mom' or 'dad', but she still loved them, and Hannah was her little sister no matter what. When this happened, Maria realized that her mother's words could be taken two ways. It can be taken negatively, the way Maria had taken it, or it can be taken positively, the way Maria was just starting to realize. In the positive sense, her mother's words meant that while, yes, the snowflake will melt away, but if you keep it's memory in your heart, the person or dream it was created for will still manage to exist, and it will fall once again. That is how you hold on to a snowflake. As long as you believe, it will always come back again. Even if it doesn't look the same as before, even if it's changed with time, it will definitely fall again.

"Big Sissy!!" The little voice belonged to none other than Hannah, the little girl I cared about more than anything. She came bursting through the door, grabbing my hand and dragging me from the bed.

"What is it, Hannah?" Maria asked, following the child down the stairs.

"Just come, just come!" the enthusiastic little girl shouted, pulling the front door open and leading Maria onto the front lawn.

It was snowing.

"Isn't it pretty?" Hannah asked, eyes alight with wonder and fascination.

Maria looked down at the child, and smiled.

I want to protect this, Maria thought. More than anything, the innocence, the sweet innocence of this child. I want to protect it.

Maria wrapped her arms around little Hannah. "Did you know, Hannah," she said, "that all snowflakes are different? That no two snowflakes are exactly alike?"

Hannah looked up at Maria, with the same wide-eyed look Maria had had. "Really?"

She nodded. "Yes, and just like snowflakes, no two people are exactly alike. Like how everyone has different dreams for the future, too."

A frown creased Hannah's brow, a puzzled look crossing her face. "So, people and dreams are snowflakes?"

I laughed. "I'll tell you something now, Hannah." Maria hugged her precious sister closer. "Everytime a child is born, or a dream is created or comes true, a snowflake will fall just for that child or dream. There is a snowflake for every person on this Earth. The hardest part, is catching one in your hand and holding on to it."

Hannah looked up at her sister. "Maria, next year, I will definitely catch a snowflake for you."

"Thank you, Hannah." She smiled down at her sister, tenderness and warmth that only a this child had ever been able to maker her feel filling her eyes. "I'm sure that the snowflakes you catch will be the most beautiful in the world, because they are your dreams, and different from anyone else's."

Hannah laughed, and ran from her sister's arms to play in the snow. If she had looked back once, she would have seen a single tear sliding down Maria's face. And if she'd been close enough to hear Maria, she would have heard Maria say one last thing under her breath before joining Hannah in the snow.

"Catch a snowflake in your hand, never let it melt away."





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