Here comes the snow…

December 10, 2008

I’m sitting in my family room watching the first true snowfall of the season- it’s actually coming down pretty good too. I’m an adult, so I can watch the snow come down without any emotional reaction. If it was a workday and I woke up to heavy snowfall maybe I would react- mutter some curse words, wish that the Government would shut down for a day, etcetera. But today is Sunday, so I can watch void of angry thoughts from the comfort of my easy chair, coffee in hand- nice.


My kids, on the other hand, react to the first snowfall like it was the second coming of Christ. When I first heard them around 7am I tried to ignore them, but the pure energy of their excitement was enough to vibrate me from the warmth of my bed. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs they were in the midst of a deep embrace vowing to never do another mean thing to each other again, as long as they live, so help them God. If only snow could do that for the rest of us.


Why is snowfall such a major event when you’re a kid? Is it that every flake brings forth the promise of snowball fights, skyscraper-sized snowmen, snow forts, igloos and so on?  I can almost hear their thoughts- “Soon we’ll have the perfect arctic environment replete with penguins, polar bears maybe even an abominable snow man or two”. Snow is magical stuff when you’re young- every flake a possibility.


Sadly, Maryland isn’t the Arctic Circle so we don’t get great amounts of the fluffy cold stuff. Last year we had only one day when snow actually stuck to the ground. My kids made the best of it- they made a dirty-ass snowman complete with leaves, sticks, rocks and one lonely dog turd (I don’t even own a dog?) rolled right into his pathetic, lopsided body. They also managed to go sledding down the meager slope in our backyard. After about 4 trips it turned into an Amazonian mudslide. It took me the remaining three seasons to get grass to return in that spot.


They probably would have been able to sled a little longer had they not consumed most of the snow from our lawn.  Funny thing about kids, they think snow is fine dining. When I look at snow all I think of is factory waste, jet fumes, microorganisms, and every other type of pollutant that is currently littering our atmosphere- not exactly something I would willingly ingest. You want to see something gross? Watch Cayden eat a gray icicle off Connie’s minivan exhaust pipe- how tasty is that?


I guess how parents view snow is just one more example of why it sucks to grow old. As Connie and I watched the boys play from our back window, I knew we were having very similar thoughts- snow signals the return of the 15 minute phenomenon. The phenomenon defined: 15 minutes to bundle up; 15 minutes of actual outdoor time; 15 minute undress period; followed by 15 minutes of arguing about going back outside for subsequent trips. Mack and Cayden will do this all day long. They also like to open our patio door, lean their heads across the threshold and discuss how friggin’ cold it is outside- of course we’re very aware of how cold it is outside because, thanks to them, our family room is the same exact temperature.


Snow also means school cancellations- great when you’re a kid, not so great when you’re trying to hunt down last minute child care or trying to come up with activities to keep them occupied. This is a huge issue in our neck of the woods because they cancel school on the off chance that it may snow in the future. When I was a kid no such joy could be found. In Ohio you went to school no matter what. It was so cold one year that both of my arms froze to my torso- unable to use my hands I couldn’t recover my nose which had frozen clean off and was subsequently carried away by a chipmunk- at least that’s what I tell my boys.


At least this year I was prepared. A couple of days prior to it hitting I crawled up into our attic and brought down a huge box of snow attire. We then took the time to survey our inventory. With the kids at 6 and 8 it’s almost impossible to make winter clothes last longer than a single season, so every year we have to purchase new boots, snow pants and parkas. I currently have enough winter footwear to outfit a large tribe of pygmy Eskimos (they don’t really exist so don’t bother to Google them). Hats and gloves are another story. My boys treat them like disposable items. Most times they go into the back yard wearing them only to return 15 minutes later barehanded and hatless. I normally find them in the spring with the lawn mower unless a squirrel finds them first and makes a nest out of them.


Other facts you may not know about kids’ winter apparel: it doesn’t wick water, the zippers break after the first use, and if it snags on something it will unravel faster than a spool of thread- oh, and it’s expensive too. What ever happened to the super cool green rubber boots with the yellow tag on the heel? That was my childhood winter apparel. Those things were money- not a stitch of insulation to be found. To make them water proof my Mom would place Wonder Bread bags over my feet and fasten them to my calves with thick rubber bands before slipping on my boots- Underarmour be damned!  I’ll probably get a call from my mother tonight telling me that I’m making her sound like a horrible parent, but that’s not the point of the story. How could she possibly be a horrible parent- after all, she let me eat Wonder Bread? My own children have to suffer with whole grain wheat. Besides, I found it enjoyable when all the forest creatures would come running to eat the crumbs off my socks when I took off my boots.


I should probably stop ranting about the snow- I kind of sound like that cranky guy who yells at kids to stay off his grass (Yes, Dad, I’m pointing at you). The boys love it and that should be enough. In the not to distant future, I won’t be able to drag them outside so might as well let them frolic while they still desire to do so. But one more word of advice- if your kids ask you to join them in a snowball fight, pull your punches a bit. No one clued me in and a couple of years ago I let one fly and dropped Mack like a bad habit. He was fine, even recovered most of his short-term memory, but boy-oh-boy was he ever pissed off.

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Christa posted the following on December 11, 2008 at 11:06 am.

I love snow…I still get excited just like I did as a kid with the first snowfall every year. I guess some of us never grow up 🙂

admin posted the following on December 12, 2008 at 6:37 am.

I kind of feel that way about the first day of Spring that’s warm enough to sit on the porch first thing in the morning with my coffee in hand and no shoes on my feet, that gets me excited.

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