Some kids watch television. Some play video games. Others curl up with a comic book or a novel. My children love nothing better than whiling away hours listening to stories about what it was like when I was a kid. They specifically enjoy hearing about my most vivid image of a late March Canadian blizzard, the night of my Bat Mitzva

Standing at the bottom of the porch steps, staring upwards, I watched in delight as endless soft, wet curtains of snowflakes floated downward. Dancing in circles, I tried to keep time with the wonder swirling around me as nature seemed to share in my contagious excitement. Wondering what it was about thick fresh snow that made the world suddenly quiet, I enjoyed the deep stillness and peace while anticipating my grandfather's arrival.

Suddenly the heavy storm door clanged open and my mother's voice broke through my reverie.

"Batya, you're getting wet. You'll catch a cold. What are you doing out there in the dark? Come inside, your birthday dinner is almost ready."

"I'm waiting for Saba (Grandfather)," I answered. "We can't start without him."

"Can't you see we're having a blizzard?" she asked. "The roads are treacherous, the busses have not been working for hours, even the phone lines are down. He's not going to be able to get here."

"He's coming. He said he would be here to celebrate my Bat Mitzva with me and he will. We can't start without him," I insisted.

"Please Batya," my mother implored, "You're turning twelve, it's time to grow up. Be mature and understand that things happen and therefore it isn't always possible to keep even the most well intended promises." Turning away she re-entered the house.

Inhaling the crisp, clean scent of the air, I let the silence comfort me and the snowflakes hug me. Why did I have to grow up if that meant understanding that people can't keep their word? Was nothing sacred? In that case, I would rather remain a child. The snow crystals sparkling like a million scattered diamonds tempted me and unable to resist I lay down and formed snow angels in the freshly fallen snow. Giggling as a snowflake entered my nose, I sat up.

Then suddenly there he was in the distance trudging through the heavy snowdrifts: Tall, so tall that nearly everyone had to look up to him, broad shoulders, solid as a rock. His glistening long black coat, felt hat and salt and pepper beard fit in perfectly with the black and white negative of the landscape. Stumbling, I struggled to make my way down the snow-covered driveway to greet him. He was not one for gratuitous smiles, therefore the smile he gave me when he caught sight of me warmed me up inside. Steadying me with his sturdy hands, he caught me before I slipped and fell. Hugging him, breathing in the smell of his wet wool clothing, I felt safe.

"You're here, I knew you would come," I cried, tears of joy coursing down my cheeks.

"Of course," he responded in his quietly resonant voice. "I said I would. Now let's celebrate your birthday milestone." Peering at his face I saw the wry humor and twinkle in his deep blue eyes behind the poker-face solemnity of his expression.

The door burst open to the surprised shouts of my siblings calling, "Saba's here!" and the mouth-watering smells of my mother's gourmet dinner emanating from the kitchen.

As my father helped my grandfather shed his soaked clothing and boots, my mother turned to my grandfather and said, "You had to walk for miles in this terrible storm to get here. It's dangerous, you shouldn't have. She would have understood if you couldn't make it."

My grandfather looked at her and stated simply, "When you tell a child you're going to do something, you do it. No ifs, ands, maybes or buts."