Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Winter Bounty

It's been so cold here, and it's lasted for several days, which is the odd part. Usually in SoCal, we'll get a couple of really chilly nights every winter, but this snap has lasted for what? Nearly a week now? I'm good with it. It's winter, and I'm not ready for hot again, not after the endless long summer. Hard to recall now, but we were still having days that were up in the 80s, in November.

This weekend my sister and nephew came for a visit, and what did we do with a chilly Sunday afternoon, but decide to drive up to the mountain community of Idyllwild, about an hour away, where it was even colder. There was a thin layer of icy, crunchy snow on the ground, and the kids loved it, and couldn't stop playing with it, even with no snow-worthy protection for their hands. The icicles above are from that day. I wonder if the children will possibly remember any of it? Lily, at nearly five, is probably the only likely candidate, since both Tucker and Riley are only two. It was a good day -- even with that episode of car sickness with Tucker (which happened right as we arrived into town), and chubby red nearly-frostbitten hands, and only patches of grimy, crunchy snow to play with.

Yesterday was not such a good day. In fact, yesterday was very very much like the day I had in this post. How does that phenomenon work, that the more conscious I am of trying to keep my cool and stay pleasant and not crazy, the worse the day becomes? Why does it have to backfire into a Day from Hell, parenting-wise? Voices were raised, crying was frequent (but not from me, at least), my hand connected with soft skin, and still they kept comin' at me, undeterred and ready for the next round of whining/squabbling/fussing/. Lily, who is morphing into a teenager the closer she gets to her fifth birthday, was the worst of the two, as usual. At one moment, I said to her "okay, I was just asking. Sorry." And her reply? "I'm sorry you asked." Snap! The effort required to refrain from slapping the child at these moments just sucks the life force from me and leaves me feeling like a very used, very tired and very bitter-looking dishrag.

All of this makes me realize that I truly am in the midst of those January doldrums mentioned previously. I'm suddenly aware that for the last week or two I've had this background tension, this stress that keeps my shoulders tight and my mouth set at an unhappy angle. There is nothing really wrong, of course, except my own mild dissatisfaction with the status quo of the days. There is a chaotic closet waiting for me to finally clean out, and Christmas gift books to ship and return to Amazon, and boxes piled in a corner from Christmas of those gifty-things that I don't really have a use for (such as my Relaxing Vibrating Cow Pillow), yet I can't just throw away, either. Yes, this is that January-state I knew was coming.

But December! Let me tell you about December. It was good. I was happy and peaceful and felt that by making some lists and trying to plan ahead, I got a small gain on the chaos of the season. I took so many pictures of things I meant to blog about -- perfect, breezy weather, crafts and baking with Lily that did not end in tears or anger or even tensed shoulders. A birthday dinner alone with my husband, and a trip to Disneyland. All good stuff. But even more than those events, there was a feeling I kept meaning to write about, that feeling of bounty, of being filled to the brim of the good stuff in the universe. The deep and abiding joy of having a husband who offers up his warm legs to me under the covers, when mine are freezing cold. The tears that sprung to my eyes at Lily's preschool Christmas party, as I watched Tucker running after the older kids and laughing, and my gratitude for his good health and happiness. The cold and starry nights, as I stood at the window while my family slept in peace, and sensed the coming of a holiday that celebrated the birth of a baby -- that everyday miracle deemed special by men for just that one day. So, yeah. December? December pretty much rocked, looking back.

So. Now we are deep in the midst of true winter and although the days are slowly getting a bit longer and the sunlight lasts a few minutes more each day, I need to be patient. I need to lean into the season and remember that all those good things are still just as true -- happy, bright children, cold starry nights, and warm hubby limbs, waiting for me when I finally shake off the unhappiness of merely another January day, and put my cranky, weary self into bed.


Anonymous jodie said...

Oh wow, gorgeous photos! I love your typewriter profile pic too...I've just bought an amazing 1960s one in Brooklyn which I had smuggle back in my suitcase!

Would love you to check out my blog...

2:45 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you! The first two in this post were actually taken with my husband's camera phone. Look forward to checking out your blog.

7:47 AM  

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