February 21, 2010. Three noteworthy events occur today. First, the clink of our wind chimes dancing to the tempo of the gentle breeze inspires us to take the kids skiing at Butternut. We have no real choice as the sky is so blue and the air so crisp; the day beckons for outdoor adventure. Like a whisper in the ear, we have the melody of the chimes to thank for alerting us to the day’s potential. Annie, our latest ally in Operation Peter, is waiting on the beginner’s hill to ensure, once again, that our son has a fruitful and happy experience. She is the ski school supervisor with the pageboy haircut, chronically chapped lips and can-do smile that we enlisted at the beginning of the season to help Peter succeed on the slopes. And he does. He and Sophie graduate from the bunny hill conveyor belt to the ski lift that accesses the green runs. They nearly bowl us over at the day’s end, both of them practicing their “pizza” wedge, grinning ear to ear. They feel like big kids today, and for good reason. They are. Today I see promise and improvement where yesterday I glimpsed darker reminders of our potential road ahead. Peter’s friend spent the evening with us, a boy with some special needs of his own but who is sweet and gentle and wise beyond his years in terms of understanding the value of friendship and family. We are lucky to have him in Peter’s life. But he’s a little wild, and certainly a rascal. At dinner he tells us goodnaturedly that Peter is the craziest, out of control kid in their inclusion class and is constantly in trouble. He lists specific examples, which Peter doesn’t deny. Despite what his teachers report, it seems our son is as rudderless at school as he is at home. No real surprise, but good nonetheless to have confirmed, especially from someone who lacks agenda. Yesterday’s revelation aside, Peter spends the day focused and on-task. He wants to learn to ski and with Annie’s help, he’s well on his way. Sophie too is happier and more confident than I’ve seen her in months. The mood is contagious. Pat readily absorbs the fresh air and the even more refreshing shift in outlook, which is the second noteworthy event. He’s left some of his worries behind today, and for this I’m grateful. He deserves so much more than our day-to-day family life offers. I nearly well-up when over an indulgent dish of pre-dinner ice cream, he flashes me the puckish smile that first caught my eye twelve years ago. I love him desperately, and because today we’re a family at ease, I know he feels that fact without me having to remind him. And that’s good. Good for Pat, good for me, good for our marriage and of course, good for Sophie and Peter. We arrive home tired, satiated from Babalouie’s pizza, and ready for showers only to discover that our rescue pup, Pippin, has gotten himself into a pickle. His predicament is the last and funniest event of the day. Somehow, while frolicking outside, he manages to become conjoined to a sizeable snowball. He shows up at the backdoor with apology, imploring someone to rescue him from the circumstances of his folly. At first I think he’s become entangled in a plastic grocery bag, but it’s a giant, weighty, snowball. And it’s stuck, really stuck, to his collar, specifically the medal ID tag dangling from it. I set about freeing him but not without first grabbing my camera and capturing this amusing endnote to a lovely day. It seems even the four-legged LoBruttos were in the mood for Sunday fun.