Old Man Winter is bringing his A-game this year. He's not messing around. We're under about three feet of snow shellacked with ice. Roofs are collapsing left and right. The trees are glittering, but their heavy branches are raining down on yards all around us. On the walk to school this morning Sean kicked a big mound of the white stuff, as kids (and even this mom) will do. Then he hopped around howling in surprise. The ice pile had kicked back. "Watch it, kid, or you'll break your foot," I said. Those aren't snow piles. They're ice fortresses.
I'm not getting out for the walks I need to take to maintain my sanity, and neither are the dogs. At least I can get out for my yoga classes. And despite the slow, cautious walks the dogs are getting, the girls have gone positively squirrely. This morning one of them was playing ball--by herself--in the living room. We wondered what the ka-thunk-ka-thunk-ka-thunk was until we saw the tennis ball roll into the foyer. Cee Cee, my princess, has at least figured out how to walk on the sheet of ice that is our backyard. Sparks and Lopez are more confused. They are not big fans of living on a tundra. They'd dump on it, just to prove the point, but they can never seem to find the right spot to go.
We're halfway there, at least. Accoridng to the groundhog, we'll see an early spring. I don't know if it was an honest prediction or if he was just afraid of a murderous mob in the event he foresaw six more weeks of winter. But I'll gladly accept his prediction. Winter's going to end sometime. The days will eventually warm up. The snow will finally melt. And I'm glad I have a good pair of hunter green wellies for this year's mud season. It's bound to be a doozy. Ian and I have already prepared a plan of attack for our basement, which will most definitely take in some water once the thaw begins.
The great thing about all of this is that it's forced me to pause and take it all in. It's forced me, and everyone else, to slow down. And while I did a dance of joy yesterday as the kids finally went back to school after their eighth snow day this year, I have enjoyed some of the extra time at home with them, knocking around air hockey pucks in between conference calls. Though it's still an emotional tug of war when I work remotely while the kids are home. Neither work nor the kids seem to get the best of me on those days. It seems everything, from walking to working, is an exercise in balance this winter.
So amidst my plans for spring (I've already got the basil seeds started; couldn't wait on that one), my new recipe attempts (I made a decent panecotta the other day. Ah, escarole...I heart you so), crafy projects, grad school applications, and daydreams of suffocatingly hot summer days on the beach, I've enjoyed enough downtime this winter to stop and consider a little gratitude list. Don't look for the big things, like my children and my husband, on this one. Those are given. This list is (mostly) all about the practical things for which I am so, so grateful:
1. My car. I'm on my third Subaru, having ditched the gas-guzzling V6 Tribeca last fall in favor of a 2010 Forester. And how I love thee...
2. School. My kids have an excellent school right in their backyard. And it's awesome when they're there... really, really, really awesome when they're there. I love hanging out with my kids. I love my kids. I love being a mom. And I love when they're home. But I really love that they have somewhere else to be during the week.
3. Our very old hoe and shovel, the heavy-handled likes of which are the only ones guaranteed to work on chopping away at two inches of ice.
4. Hammers and pick-axes, with which I armed the kids on Wednesday after breaking up the third fight between brothers and deciding, "everybody outside now to chop ice before we all kill each other! Mommy especially needs to chop ice!" I chopped the entire driveway, walkway and sidewalk with them helping me. I used the hoe, naturally.
5. Ice melt.
6. Nacho chips, cheese, salsa and a hot oven.
7. My camera(s), so I can document this winter for the ages.
8. OnDemand. Watching the Secret of Kells made my week on Wednesday.
9. Hearing myself tell Nolan to "have fun with it" when he started panicking while slipping down our walkway last week. And realizing I meant it, completely, and that I need to have fun with ALL of it, too.
10. True Grit and the King's Speech. The Fighter is up next on my list and close to my heart, seeing as I hail, in part, from a bunch of fighting O'Sullivans from Lowell, MA.
11. Angry Birds.
13. My laptop and remote work options.
14. Pitchers and catchers report in about a week and a half. The boys of summer always return, except without Andy Pettitte this year. *Sob*. Thanks for the memories, Andy. You were one of the best. Ever. *Sniff*
15. The neighborhood gang. We live on the best block, I swear. These kids know how to have fun, as evidenced by their flight from our front porch, once the snow became so high they could leap from the railings and just...fly....
The gang flies.
Sean C's ninja kick.
Sean K. feelin' it!
Have fun with it.