Saturday, April 11, 2015

March Madness, of a different sort

The snow is melting! (Not fast enough.)

Since January the Northeast has been battered by snowstorm after snowstorm, and freezing day after even more freezing day. I was doing okay with it, I really was. It was Winter; this is what Winter weather is like. Then 2 weeks ago we had one warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. The next morning it was freezing again, and I was done. D.O.N.E. I'd had a taste of comfort and sunshine and Spring and Winter was not welcome here anymore.

Here we are, another sunny and warm Sunday afternoon, and for once the forecast is not for more snow and freezing temps but actual warmth, and sunshine and the possibility that the snow that has been sitting in frozen piles for 3 months might thaw.

And it's disgusting. City snow does not melt attractively. Only the top layer is white. The layers underneath are different shades of gray and black and yellow. As the snow recedes it reveals the frozen garbage, animal feces, stray newspapers and coffee cups and forgotten, forlorn mittens. It's truly horrible, and it can't happen fast enough.

I feel like the melting snow is a good metaphor for my parenting right now... as the frozen Winter slowly slides away it is revealing some yucky stuff- the bad habits we developed while stuck inside. The nasty attitudes and the gripes and the grudges we're holding. We've been stuck inside for several months and we've all had quite enough of each other. My kids miss the park; they miss the freedom to run and choose their own games and socialize out of adult earshot. I miss the quiet that I can find outside on the sidelines of their fun, sitting in a park bench in the sun reading.  My kids' messiness, high energy and joyful loudness seems natural in the playground. Inside my house this Winter those same qualities have been driving me mad.

So here we are on the brink of warmth and freedom. Wearing snow boots and light jackets.  Looking longingly at our still 1/2 frozen backyard. I'm wondering which of our bad habits will shed easily, the way we threw off our jackets and mittens this afternoon? And which will, like the filthy blackened ice patches in the forgotten corners of our yard, I'll have to go at with a shovel and broom. Will we continue to fight so much about Mine Craft once we can all play outdoors? Will we still shout at each other each morning once there aren't quite so many layers to put on?

I live in hope.

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