I really have tried to go with the fucking flow of this interminable winter. Conspiratorial Facebook whining, knowing winks shared with other tired mothers bedecked with snow-day kids in the market, self-deprecating laughter over yet another 1,000-piece puzzle completed, gym visits repeatedly “rainchecked,” and too much wistful longing to admit spent on thoughts of shorts, warmth, and a schedule on which we can count. Shit, I even bought a stylish ear muff band.
I’m over it. I want to be, have to be, as I fear I’m dissolving away into the utterly dull abyss that I worry I’m becoming. My mind feels like leftover whipped cream. You know how initially whipped cream is awesome? Exciting? You like it and want more? Its perfect peaks of perfect whiteness entice like nobody’s business. That’s what my mind used to feel like to me. I never felt short of things about which to write or think, generally felt energized by what my daily life was, had a to-do list that made me quiver.
But ultimately, as one surely is after several servings of shortcake, I.am.done. I don’t want any more cold white fluff, no matter how silky-smooth it is. It’s losing its luster, weeping around the edges, the vaguest odor of OFF whispering in my nose.
No one gives a rat’s ass about sledding anymore. Shoveling is just a chore. We long ago ran out of firewood. S’mores became too regular a treat to retain their magical status. Everything seems dead and colorless outside. And long underwear and snow pants? Even the kids want to bury them in the garage, fully out of sight, away from need, completely out of mind.
Our family room ceiling is criss-crossed with brown lines from a diligent leak. Tom and I have each replaced a car tire as well as our pantry light fixture which died an instant death last month when a large mass of snow cascaded heavily from the main roof onto the tiny pantry’s less formidable one.
As you probably know, yesterday was yet another snow day. On yet another Monday. Per the usual, the kids and I watched as T left, early in the morn. And then we looked at each other like, “hey, I like you, but seriously? Again? What now?” I went about canceling the to-dos that kids render difficult if not impossible, rescheduling the things I could and basically calling “Uncle” on all the rest. They’re never gonna happen at this point. Not now when yesterday might have been their umpteenth second attempt. I wrapped Ol’s cupcakes up tight, willing them to stay fresh as daisies until today. I paid some hardworking guy to shovel my stairs and sidewalk so I didn’t lose a lung trying.
And then today things were back to normal until about fifty percent of my friends and I were informed by our children that there’s no school on Friday because “spring break starts that morning, Mom!” Yes, half knew or remembered this. But the rest of us? Man, we’re just getting by, day by day, week by week and all we wanted was four full days to count on before spring break really started.
Nope. Friday’s a vacation day. And for NO ONE I know will it be that. I have a catering order to deliver, and I have to pack for our trip. Let me say that I am feeling damn lucky we can go somewhere and that we’re going to Southern Cal because there the sun appears to shine regularly and impart warmth. Additionally and awesomely, one of my very best friends ever in the world lives there and I’m going to see her four times in a week which is about as many times as I’ve seen her since my wedding nearly ten years ago.
But to get to Saturday just seems Herculean, and suddenly Tom has to leave a day early from CA, and I gotsta be honest in saying that a last-minute five+ hour plane ride alone with the boys doesn’t really feel like the icing on the cake to me.
The biggest, hardest, most frustrating and maddening and saddifying piece of this whole damn snow day-riddled winter, though, has been the assault on my sense of self that has felt fairly constant. I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, yes I did. And I have learned that being such with small children means, at least for me, that I have to fit myself and my interests and my shit in when they’re gone or asleep. Is this easy? No. Do I resent it sometimes? Yes. Do I feel there’s an easy solution? Puh-lease. Would I change things? Mostly not.
It’s workable enough IF all goes according to plan. But the size and scope of that ‘if’ cannot be overstated. Because if, for example, I lose 1-2 days a week due to snow or ailments or more snow or even more, well, what that really means is that I am repeatedly putting myself on the back burner. Each day, the thoughts and feelings and wishes of the prior days fade further and further into the distance. It’s harder to reach them, harder to access any of the feelings or occurrences that prompted them. Simultaneously, being with the kids all day without reprieve taxes my mind like nothing else. Even in the best of times, eight hours straight with them leaves me depleted. On those days, a whirlwind of marvelous, satisfying productivity does NOT follow. And so the happiest of these surprise “holidays” together leaves me further behind the starting line. Forget about it if one of the boys or I or both get sick. Then it’s just time to hang it up.
And so I find myself in the grizzled gray depths of Glumly Glumth, wiping noses and bottoms, urging the use of napkins not sleeves, talking even more about light sabers and galactic battles, pleading for completion of thank you notes and the cessation of nail-biting all while wearing the same damn elastic-waist pants I think I slept in last night. I will reorder my schedule once more to work catered tarts around no-school Friday, to fit some exercise in, to locate our swim gear. I’ll try to find restoration in reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with Jack (a most delightful and engaging book) and throw locavore guilt out the damn window as I buy greenhouse tomatoes and basil from somewhere, anywhere else.
It’s the little things.
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