Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wintry Mix

I do not like winter time.  I detest the snow.  I hate being cold.  I feel justified in these statements.  When I was younger, growing up in a rural area, snow meant you lost power.  Without fail, when it snowed, regardless of the amount, we would lose power in our home.  Thankfully, my Grandmama lived across the road from us, and she had kerosene heaters.  Here's the rub, I am allergic to kerosene.  My throat closes up, and I struggle to breathe.  So, when it would snow, we (my parents, 3 siblings, and myself) would trek across the road to Grandmama's house, where she would have closed off all the rooms and would have set the kerosene heater in the middle of the living room.  Everyone would cozy up in the warm room, and I would go to my Grandmama's room, with no heat, a stack of quilts and blankets, and a book or two to read.  I love to read, and I always stayed warm enough, but I did not like being alone.  There is the history of why I am not an advocate for the winter season.

Growing up in the mountains of NC also meant that when it snowed, school would be closed.  I loved school and was not happy when we would miss.  When I was younger, I can remember sledding in our yard using a stop sign and a speed limit sign that my Daddy had fashioned into sleds.  I never knew where those sleds came from, but I always thought they were excellent.  Many times, we would climb the hill to our neighbors' farm where we would sled through the pasture and hike up the hills over and over until our legs were tingling with exhaustion.  Without fail, we would have hot chocolate with marshmallows either prepared by Mama or Grandmama.  With the power often going out, food preparation would be interesting.  I distinctly remember during the blizzard of 1993 storing our food out in the snow.  I remember my Daddy wrapping up frozen burritos in aluminum foil then "cooking" them on top of the kerosene heater.  I remember bringing in milk from the snow, fixing cereal, then placing the gallon jug back in the snow.

I also remember when the threat of snow would arrive, Mama would make each of us take a shower in case the power would go out.  Then, she and Grandmama both, would run every sink and bathtub full of water.  We had a well, and if you're power went out, the water went out, too.  The funny thing is, when our forecast predicts snow, I have the kids hop in the shower, too...just in case!

When I got older, I did not like missing school because I knew we would have to go longer during the warmer months.  When a snow day would appear, I would be disappointed.  Thankfully, God blessed me with a full house.  My sister, brothers, and I would sit down and write out skits.  I have had a love of parody since 10th grade English, and I discovered Saturday Night Live the same year.  So, we would sit down and toss around ideas then write out scripts for everyone.  Sometimes, we would have friends over, and we would include them in the fun.  Our Daddy would be at work, and Mama would usually be in her room working on papers for college or lesson plans once she was teaching.  The four of us would take turns being behind the camera and on camera.  We would do a talk show entitled Freddy Springer.  We would impersonate celebrities, namely Martha Stewart and Wycleff Jean.  We would have the world's worst makeovers.  But, my favorite skit was when my sister, Andrea, and I put on a morning show where we interviewed my brothers, Tyler and Timothy, who were portraying actors from the "Broadyway" musical, Rats. 

As an adult, I still loathe the cold.  More layers means more laundry.  Colder temps lead to whiny kiddos.  Freezing weather makes for challenging driving conditions.  However, I love seeing my kids light up when they watch the snow fall quietly and beautifully to the ground.  I love listening to them shriek and giggle when they throw a snowball or roll down a snow covered hill.  I adore extra days where we get to stay inside and have movie marathons. 

I will never be pro-winter, and I constantly pray that God will keep me from ever moving any farther north of where I am presently.  While there are so many things that I do not enjoy about the winter time, looking back, my absolute favorite memories from my teenage years take place on an out-of-school-for-barely-any-snow day.  Days when my siblings would laugh, create, and play hold a special place in my heart.  Memories of pots of chili, rushed cold showers, games of Uno by candlelight flood my mind and make me grateful for my childhood.  Now, as a Mama, I'm looking for ways to place those same opportunities in my children's hearts and minds.  My challenge to you, whether you embrace the cold or not, how can you take advantage of God's creativity with the weather to make a lasting impression on your family?  Unplug from the electronics, remember when you were younger, and make some winter memories with your kiddos!


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