I am so done. I am losing my mind. I am not sure how much more I can take. I am waving my white flag; I am yelling “UNCLE!”
I am ready for spring.
As a native New Englander, I am under no illusions that winter here is anything but rough. It is cold and snowy mixed with ice and the shortest of short days. I get it. I even look forward to it each fall.
Then, February hits, more specifically February with two very small children. Winter is no longer fun. It is far too cold, the snow has developed an impermeable shell of ice, and we have lost one of every pair of mittens we started the year with.
Are you there, spring? It’s me, Michelle.
Some days I find myself gazing out the window at the great white swath that is our back yard. A few months ago there was a picnic table, sand box, and swing set. Now there are three marshmallowy looking lumps. Cold, unrecognizable, lumps.
If I squint one eye, close the other, and turn upside down, I can almost picture grass and trees with leaves. Almost.
I really hate complaining about the weather. We live in a beautiful section of the country and are able to experience all four seasons. I like to think that we chose to live here. That we could leave if we wanted to. But then, February. February makes me feel trapped and cold and cranky as all get out.
I recently heard on NPR that a study suggests that people who complain tend to live longer. If that is the case, and this frigid weather continues, I may just live forever.
Our four year old doesn’t complain. She just copes with the cabin fever by dressing up, pretending she is someone and somewhere else. She dances around our house in elaborate costumes singing songs at the top of her lungs. She creates entire performances for us to watch.
It helps make being stuck inside a little easier to bear. It also gives me an excuse to wear a tutu and sing along with her.
We try to leave the house. We try to get out, go to local children’s museums, playgroups, even just the store to meet up with friends. We do it to remember that we are not the only people who inhabit this arctic tundra. The process of dressing, however, is enough to exhaust me for the day. Base layers, followed by sweaters, followed by outerwear, followed by boots, followed by hates and mittens and scarves.
Have you ever tried to dress a four month old in enough layers to prevent frost bite but not so many that they get a heat rash? Imagine trying to put a wool sweater on an angry octopus whose sole mission is to eat everything that comes near its face.
You get the idea.
When we arrive at our destination I am ready for a nap, the four year old has to pee and the baby is hungry. The four year old won’t use the bathroom with her coat on and I am so layered that I am afraid that if I even tried to nurse the baby I may end up losing her between layers of down and wool.
Oh, winter. Uncle.
But, somehow, we survive. We make it through the shortest, coldest, month of the year. The sun starts to shine a little longer, the air starts to warm a few degrees. The dripping of the eaves indicates that in a few weeks those white lumps in our yard will slowly morph back into our swing set, picnic table, and sandbox.
Eventually we will be able to shed some layers and get outside. I will be able to feed the baby and not lose her in swaths of fabric. The four year old will probably continue to dress up and sing her songs but come spring, she will be able to perform al fresco with feathered back-up singers.
Soon, I will stop complaining about the ice and the cold. I will let the sun shine on my face, breathe in the warm breeze and I will move on to complaining about the mud and the pollen and the pesky mosquitoes