Whatever the weather, this winter was always going to have a warm glow about it:
it was the winter my husband came home;
the winter we got back to being a family again.
It was always going to be good.
Early last year I remember thinking what a shame it was that his tour didn't end in the spring or the summer, when we'd have had more options of things to do; but actually winter was perfect. A perfect excuse to retreat indoors and shut the rest of the world out for a bit.
And we needed that quiet time to rest, and share, and find our way again. No pressure to do anything else.
There were some wobbles: it took a while to adjust, to smooth out the bumps; but those winter months gave us the space to recover and get back to a kind of normal.
The kind of normal I remember.
When the snow came we truly were cut off from everything for a time.
So still, so peaceful; so unimaginably different from his reality just a few months ago. Sometimes it's too easy to forget how polls apart life is for him now compared to last year in Afghanistan. Maybe because it's far beyond anything I'll experience. Impossible for me to know, but forever on his mind.
I think about that when I look at this picture of him wandering up the lane, snow swirling round, deep in thought.. followed by the poor old cat..
Now there are signs of the season turning - and I think, bar the sniffles and the colds, we're all stronger after our winter tucked away in hibernation.
Ready to make the most of what's ahead.
I'm joining in with Older Mum in a Muddle's wonderful seasonal linky, One Week - capturing thoughts and experiences of winter '13 in words and pictures