David Benoit has a lovely CD titled "Waiting for Spring." The cover art is a winter garden with a snow-covered bench. It's so soothing and gentle as if one were just staring dreamily out the window each day at the softly falling snow, peacefully waiting for crocuses and tulips to pop out of the ground and for robins to appear. The music (also soothing, gentle, and peaceful) plays on our kitchen CD player as I pick up Cheerios from the floor, wipe two runny noses, make honey toast for breakfast for the nth day in a row...yes, indeed, we are WAITING FOR SPRING.
Don't get me wrong. Things are infinitely better this winter than last winter. I was a sleep-deprived, hormonally-challenged mess. I was up every night, all night with Elaine, then as soon as I drifted off to sleep, I would hear a small voice from the other room: "Mom! Can I get out of my bed now?" I was on maternity leave all winter. I couldn't even escape to work. I was a prisoner in my own home, my jail guarded by two tiny people in pink ruffled uniforms. I emailed a friend, "I'm entitling my life book 'The Long Winter.' Except, Laura Ingalls Wilder already wrote a book like that where she and her entire family were caught in a blizzard, then almost died of scarlet fever. So, whatever I write would not only be miserable, but anticlimactic in comparison."
Yea verily, I do get tired of static-y hair, dry skin, shocks whenever we touch anything, cold drafts, the endless donning of coats/snowpants/boots/scarves/hats/mittens, then trying to stuff each child with all that on into carseats and somehow mash the buckles down without pinching their little legs in the process (while they arch their backs and squirm and fish their well-padded arms out of the straps quicker than you can say "vacation in Barbados"). But there have been intervals of fun and enjoyment too.
Lucy wants to wear a dress every day. I like that about her; I like knowing her unique preferences. Plus it makes helping her to the potty much easier too. So, win-win. But, when it's eleventy thousand degrees below zero as it has been here, practicality requires that she wear pants. I was explaining this to her (oh, for the trillionth time) the other day. She put on her pants without a word, but as we walked down to breakfast, she was dragging her feet and had a frown on her face. I asked what was wrong and she said, "I'm sort of a little bit VERY mad right now. Because you said I couldn't wear a dress."
We enjoy baking and making things together too--that's a good indoor activity. The other day while doing a project she said to me, "Mom, you're better than big ol' Herod" (you know, King Herod of Judea fame). At least now I know what to aspire too--simply being better than a crazed, tyrannical despot. I can do that. Most days.
Then yesterday when I picked up the girls from daycare, it was so cute, I thought my heart would burst. Elaine caught sight of Lucy and began shrieking with joy and crawling as fast as she could to her. Lucy ran to her with her arms outstretched, and they had a happy reunion. It did my spirits good. (Of course, then Lucy hugged her as hard as she could until Smoochie began roaring, and Lucy said disgustedly, "Oh, simmer down, Elaine!")
Yes, overall, things are happy. We're cozy indoors, playing together, and occasionally we make half-hearted forays out into the world. And if you look in our backyard, it really does look like a lovely winter garden, and there is a snow-covered bench under a tree there too. If I had the energy, I'd put on their snowsuits, hats, scarves, mittens, and boots, and we'd go out, sit down on it, and have a little chat.