Saturday, January 21, 2012

How To Spend A Snowy Day

We awoke this morning to a fluffy layer of snow on the ground. White and beautiful, it lay in waiting for boots, snow pants, sleds, and mittened hands to scuff it up.

When I was a kid, an overnight snowfall like this always, always, always meant a morning of playing outside in it. There was an understanding at our house that undisturbed snow was just waiting for a Rumpus, and we were more than happy to provide that. My brothers and I had a never vocally acknowledged competition between the 3 of us to see who could muck up the most of the fresh, smooth snow. Considering we had 2 acres of open yard, it was a free for all in those first moments when we were bundled and released into the wild.

I remember my frustration of watching my older brothers toss on a coat, some work boots, a ski hat, and a pair of rubbery day-glo orange gloves (which, incidentally, made absolutely wicked snowballs), and head out the door first. While I had to endure the entire process of bedecking that involved putting on multiple layers, one after another, and then squeezing into a last layer, which by this time felt to be about 4 sizes too small. I still cringe at the memory of squeezing my multi-layered foot into a tight boot, and shoving my hands into yet another layer of gloves.

At last ready to finally go outside, it was with extreme dismay that I looked around and saw that my hard working older siblings had canvassed pretty much the entire expanse of the yard while I was still enduring the Suiting Up process. Most of the yard had seen the Rumpus. If they were feeling especially generous, they might have left a small patch for me, or they might have avoided the furthest corners of the yard, by the treeline perimeter that surrounded our property.
This gesture was really not such a gift considering I was absolutely terrified of heading to that part of the yard unaccompanied. And they knew it. So they would heroically offer to escort me to the frightening End Of The Yard. Naturally, once there they'd proceed to dash in all directions, quickly mucking up everything in the vicinity.

Such givers they were.

Snow meant fun when I was a kid. It meant going outside into the freezing weather bundled to the point of near paralysis. It meant playing for hours making forts, slides, and having snowball fights, (which I always lost and wherein I  was generally injured). It meant going back inside, half hypothermic, and having hot chocolate, and warming up by the fire, having competitions to see whose appendages were the coldest, the most bluish, and the most numb.

Apparently that particular gene did not get passed down to either of the girls.
At the sight of today's fluffy white blanket, both of them cringed in dismay and sincere disapproval.

"Girls, do you want to go out and play for awhile?" I asked them this, fully ready to commit myself to the half hour long ritual of bundling that I knew would come next.

They stared at me with an incredulous look upon their faces. The look clearly stated that they were sure mom had officially danced off the pier of Sanity into the dark abyss of Crazy Land.

"Mother?" They questioned in unison, as if to ascertain that they had heard my ramblings correctly.  "Oh my no, mom. No we do not."

At that last, they turned and pranced into the family room and each snuggled up with a book on the couch.

How can I complain with this turn of events? After all, although I love my childhood memories of dashing here and there through drifts of freezing cold snow, I never have been taken with the other side of that fun: The Mother's Side. The side where you pull and tug and shove your child into multiple layers amid their groans and grunts of frustration, only to have them go outside for a few minutes, cringe at the cold, and stand at the door waiting to come back in, looking like sad puppies who have been neglected. Then there is the Disrobing procedure that involves unwrapping the now cold and unhappy children, and piling the wet, snowy garb somewhere out of the way to be dealt with later. Of course by the time you get to the wet, snowy gear that you put out of the way, it has melted all over, and in addition to putting it all away, you now have a wet mess to clean up as well.

Freed from this ritual, I shall take a lesson from the girls instead. Book. Couch. Blanket. Mug of tea. Perhaps a biscotti.

Maybe they do know the right way to spend a snowy day.

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