It’s winter in the Midwest. Oh, Joy. (Insert forced smile here). As a human who thinks she may be part plant, I struggle to thrive in dreary winter months without the sun to fuel me. The days are short, the air is cold, and the clouds are many. My hands can barely function outdoors without thick mittens between the months of October and April (Raynaud’s, anyone?). The unpredictability of the day-to-day forecast alone is enough to deem Midwest winters the actual worst. One morning your pipes are freezing, and by afternoon you’re grabbing your Wellies in preparation for rain showers. Each year I tend to get stuck in the winter doldrums – groggy, lacking motivation, and counting down the weeks until brighter, warmer days somewhere up ahead. But on a recent day, as I walked out of work, I realized I could choose to have a new winter perspective.
Maybe my new outlook stems from some fleeting optimism on a particularly not terrible day at work when a ray of sunlight happened to be breaking its way through the gray sky, but I believe it’s more than that.
Since late summer, we had been booking and triple booking our weekend days with birthday parties, pumpkin patches, and all the holiday events you can dream of. We had fun along the way, but by the end of December, I was completely ready for a break. Around this time, I realized that our weekend calendar was relatively empty for the next several weeks. And for once, instead of glumly counting down the days until spring, I saw a beautiful opportunity. I developed my new winter perspective.
At this juncture in our lives, post-NYE winter is relatively slow. We have dance classes once a week and maybe swimming lessons, but no consistent weekend obligations. My children, ages 3 and 6, are now old enough to play sweetly together (well, at least sometimes), and we can all sit down to play a game or build a Lego set without worrying that someone is going to disappear and stick their finger in an electric socket when my attention temporarily strays.
This year, instead of dreading the icy roads and bitterly cold winter air, I’m choosing to see and feel the warmth between our walls.
So, here’s to the days we’ll spend in our pjs. Doing puzzles, playing make-believe, and cuddling up on the couch under warm blankets for movie night before bed.
Here’s to the mornings we’ll spend making breakfast together, sipping an extra cup of coffee while the snow falls outdoors. We can dance around the kitchen like no one is watching. No one is rushed. There is nowhere we need to go.
Here’s to making more precious memories. These months will be far from perfect, but I’m grateful for the coming change of pace. I’m grateful for the slowdown that will allow me more of those special moments – the ones where you stop just long enough to look at your child and are overcome with emotion. The feeling that you still can’t believe it’s possible to love someone this much. The feeling that watching them grow is more special than you could have ever imagined, but you also want time to stop and keep them just as they are today.
Here’s to choosing to see the good in a time of year that tends to bring me down.
Here’s to a new winter perspective.