The holidays wore me out – – honestly! The snow and the record-breaking cold have forced me to slow down for a couple days and I am grateful.
I took the kids sledding last week (yes, the 20-year-old boys and their girlfriends and my 14-year old daughter!) and it brought back some great memories. I even bravely went down the hill once. Since I didn’t get hurt or wet my pants, I decided not to tempt fate and just enjoy watching. I had the same sense of delight seeing them have fun now as I did when they were little. I was happy to see that they are still kids at heart, and I hope for them that never goes away!
I remember the days it took at least 30 minutes to dress both boys to go out to play – – snow pants, then boots, then mittens (mittens first so the cuffs would be under the coat sleeves), then coats, hats and scarves. “Let’s build a snowman!” I would say with great enthusiasm. They would be excited about that for about 5 minutes before they would become distracted by their footprints or how far they could throw the snow or what the snow tasted like (no yellow snow, please!!). I would find myself crawling around the yard rolling up a snowman because we had to have something to show for our outing. Jonny enjoyed tossing the snow up in to air and yelling, “We’re rich with snow!” I have never forgotten his simple joy that day.
Inevitably and all too soon, one of the boys would need to go potty or lose a glove or a boot, and I would hustle them into the house looking like powdered-sugar covered donuts. I learned quickly to have an empty laundry basket near the door to catch all the snowy gear, which would eventually make its way to the dryer. Then it was off to get dry clothes and a meal or snack and then hopefully a nap! Two hours of work for 20 minutes of fun! When your kids are small, that’s about all you can expect. The older they got, the fun lasted longer and I could watch them from the window. If I was lucky, I could get them to shovel the driveway with the promise of hot chocolate when they came in. I’m so glad I was able to play with them and teach them how to have fun– to be “rich with snow.”
Sometimes I long for those days – – I no longer stand at the window to watch them play and build snowmen in the yard. Now I stand at the window to wave as they drive off in their cars. I pray for their safety and their safe return home . . . and I remember we are indeed “rich with snow” and many other blessings.
When my boys were born, I thought I would love Halloween. Of course, their First Halloween they were only 5 months old, so we settled for cute pumpkin bootees and took a pass on the Trick-or-Treating. The following year I started sewing costumes in early September – – I even looked for something that they could wear coats underneath if necessary. So I happily sewed away and was ready for Halloween a month ahead of time! (May I just add here that being ready for anything a month early has never happened again and probably never will!)
The big day came with a sketchy forecast (the Halloween forecast is always iffy in the Midwest), but I was determined this was going to be a FUN day. What I hadn’t fully learned yet was that toddlers like their routine. So our 30 minute drive to visit Granny & Grampy after dinner was out of the ordinary, and their little eyes kept looking at us with the expression of “What’s going on here?” “This is FUN!” I assured them. Granny believed in only the best for her little angels, so their treat was Fannie May chocolates. (Now, we all know who ate most of that chocolate!) I wonder if my mother-in-law knew how much I would appreciate it, too. I wish she were still here, so I could ask her.
On our way home, it started to rain and we were going to scrap the Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood. But, WAIT! I didn’t spend all that time making adorable matching costumes for no one to see! We agreed to visit just a few neighbors, each of us holding a winter-coated, costumed, pumpkin-toting boy. My husband also got to wrestle with a golf umbrella – bless his heart. The temperature was dropping, but we assured ourselves this was what good parents should do. After a few minutes wet snowflakes began to fall and the wind picked up – – it was so ridiculous it was funny! Our last stop was the neighbors next door who invited us to come inside out of the cold, so they could see the kids’ costumes (finally, some recognition for my hard work!). We took a few pictures with their kids, and as we stepped back outside we saw our umbrella blowing and bouncing down the street – – it was time to go home!
I don’t know who was more exhausted that night – the boys or us. Thank goodness Halloween is only one day. Little did I realize how the pending holiday season would mess with our routine – – good thing I was oblivious — If I had thought too hard about it, I may have just eaten all that Fannie May chocolate in one sitting!!