Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Winter

Dear Winter,

The words I associate with you are 'survive' and 'endure'.  You arrival is inevitable, and I must try my darnedest to grin and bear you.  Our winters are long and arduous, complete with blizzards and snow storms.  But there are so many others thing that make our days in the winter much less than desirable.

We live in a region where the four seasons are very distinct, with winter notably one of the longest ones.  It turns cold in November, and we usually get our first snow around Thanksgiving; our chances of a white Christmas are fairly high, and snow storms visit us in January and February; we think spring is around the corner beginning in March, but it doesn't actually begin to get warm until May, and even that is questionable.  Thus, most of us here feel like we have winter six months out of the year, which is way longer than I can handle.

If you experience winters like ours, you will be able to relate to my winter woes:
  • Shorter daylight.  As if the cold of the winter is not enough, we are blessed with more dark, dreary, and chilling hours of the day.  Driving home from violin lessons in pitch darkness feels just so depressing.  Because darkness means I should be in bed, not having twenty more things to do before it's time to rest. 
  • Wasted time.  It takes so much more extra time to leave the house in the winter.  Just bundling up the kids in their coats, scarves, hats, mittens, and boots takes forever.  If I can add up all that wasted time in one winter, I'm sure that's a good eight hours of priceless sleep for me.  Not to be had.
  • Zero humidity.  Once the heater kicks in, out goes any moisture in the air.  That means: 1. more time wasted on putting on lotion on the kids and myself after showers; 2. I must wear disposable gloves in the kitchen so that my fingers do not touch water, or else the skin on the sides of my nails crack, and these skin fissures are the most friggin painful $#$%@s I know; 3. and finally, I must chase down the kiddos with lip moisturizer sticks or else their lips look worse than crocodile skin. 
  • Winter medication.  But not just your normal run-of-the-mill fever reducer or cold medicine.  Cold weather means getting the kiddos refills of inhaler medications for colds-induced wheezing and 2.5% hydrocortisone cream for dryness-induced eczema.  All. Winter. Long.
  • Snap, crackle, pop -- and I don't mean Rice Krispies cereal.  Winter makes Dear Daughter and I look like we are perpetually holding on to a Van de Graaf generator.  And I still haven't found the perfect hairstyling product to combat this problem.  But the NUMBER ONE MOST ANNOYING thing of winter for me is... the ZAP I get each time I get out of the car and touch the door close it.  (If anyone can tell me how to avoid that zap, I will be forever indebted to you).  

But as the hopeless optimist that I am, I forced myself to think of some positive aspects of winter (even though they still don't even out the negatives for me):
  • SNOW DAY!  It's always an exciting possibility when a snow storm is about to roll in.  There's nothing like spending an entire day in the warmth of the home in your pajamas with the kids having nowhere to go.  
  • My Ugg slippers.  I get to spend months in these house slippers.  They are like having my feet wrapped in heaven.  
  • Hot showers.  There's something about taking hot showers on cold days. It's like a magical decompression chamber where you can let all your stress seep out through your steam-aerated pores.  Even if it only lasts a few minutes, it's still minutes of emotional bliss.
  • The Holidays.  Admittedly the most exciting holiday, Christmas is the kiddos' favorite time of year next to their birthdays.  From the tree to the stockings to the presents under the tree, it is the happiest time of the year.  It's especially wonderful when the holiday spirit transcends the gifts themselves.
  • Red noses, ears, and cheeks.  Not on me, but on the kiddos when they come home from playing with snow.  The sight of them walking in the door with their smiles and their eyes asking for hot cocoa is enough to send me dashing to the kitchen to stir up some, pronto.  I will just live vicariously through their joy in being in the elements and playing with frozen precipitation while I stay warm and cozy inside.  (Okay, I admit that I actually enjoyed sledding in our backyard last year; the thrill of sliding down that hill was actually worth braving the cold...)  

Seeing as we are just beginning this cold weather and snow season, I must get ready to persevere your presence, Winter.  But as any other fact of life, there can be no pros without cons, no good without bad, no heat without cold.  I guess you will always serve to make our summers all the more inviting when they come around.  In the meantime, I will survive.



  1. I truly believe Winter is here so we can appreciate summer. The smell of spring is so awesome, right? I also believe it's because of the smile on every child's face when they wake up to a perfect white layer on every branch of every tree and every blade of grass. It's almost as if God has a personal decorator and she is really busy over night making everything look perfect. And for me, it's to appreciate my warm home. I tend to volunteer more in the winter because I can't imagine not having heat or not having a home. But I have been poor enough where i couldn't afford a coat, luckily my gram came through and got me one. So no thank you for chapped lips and what seems like forever dressing each child to go outside...but thank you for reminding me to be thankful. :)

  2. I love snow! and I miss it so much. Last year we had a record snow fall on top of our local mountain, so I got up and we hiked up to the top, we were hiking fast for fear that it would all melt. When we got there it was one of the most unbelievable things I ever witnessed, 6" of fresh snow, pristine, and in San Francisco of all places. The snow lasted two days so we went up again, it was amazing! I don't envy your winters, only the snow, snow for me mean skiing, hot chocolate, snow ball fights, apple strudel, the crunchy sound, the pristine air, feeling like a kid again.

    I can't imagine being stuck in the house with two little kids, I feel for you.

  3. Helen, That was beautiful! You are right about being thankful! I don't know how I would live without our modern conveniences =) There is nothing like a warm home and smiling kids who love to play with snow!

    Laura, Snow is fun! But only if it's snowing in a vacation spot or ski resort. Our snow is beautiful on the first day, and then it turns into dirty snow and sludge, with salt all over the roads and rusting your car... But I won't go into details. The picture you paint is much more beautiful =) The occasional snow day is nice, but this whole week of no school with two young kids is something else!

  4. Wait... we have four distinct seasons? Are we living in the same state? ;) Little Miss had the WORST chapped lips on Christmas Eve. I've been chasing her with the balm since then, and Mister Man is on my constant lotion list. I feel for ya. Here's hoping this winter is mild. Although... I would like some snow a LITTLE bit :)

  5. Michelle, I guess as opposed to the west coast or the south (and I've lived in both areas), winters are WINTERS here. And since the other seasons are NOT winters, they are "distinct." I guess even though I've lived here for over 15 years, I'm still defining this area by its winters because I'm such a wimp =)