We’ve had old-school winter weather lately. It’s makes me nostalgic for Seals and Crofts music because it’s just like the ’70s again. Though I don’t hate snow, I don’t have the same high regard for it as I did when I was nine.
My boys love snow; that’s why I can’t dislike it. Shoveling is a pain, especially the re-shoveling after the snow plow has tossed all the street snow into my driveway. But I have two willing helpers, to the extent that they understand the goal of shoveling the driveway, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. There’s plenty else to sneeze at this time of year.
We got more than a foot of snow one day, followed by near-zero daytime temps, which is always a nice cherry on top of your winter woes. I no sooner got out my long underwear than my boys saw their chance to play in the snow. Thus began the ordeal.
The ordeal, if you don’t know the combination of snow and children, is the combination of snow and children. Finding all the pieces of snow attire, collecting them in one place, and getting them around the various edges of a child, is no mean feat. The last part of this circus should be performed with the child sedated, for if the child is conscious, the complaints will be incessant.
In the house, children rightfully complain about being restrained by the overburden of garments and the lack of suitable ingress for oxygen through the holes in their faces. They loathe breathing through scarves and similar impediments:
BOY: “Daddy, I can’t breathe!”
DAD: “You can breathe just fine.”
BOY: “No. I really can’t.”
DAD: “People who can’t breathe are too busy choking to complain.”
BOY: “No they’re not. They always say ‘I can’t breathe!’”
Two-foot drifts waited to be removed from the driveway, but we spent 15 minutes arguing about the habits of highly suffocated people.
His face soon extricated itself from the scarf, at which point he rightfully began to complain about his cold nose. I had no answers for him.
By now, Mommy had the little boy bubble wrapped in insulation. He joined us outside and immediately shed his mittens. Three trips back into the house later, he learned that keeping mittens on was prerequisite to staying outside.
Big Brother had given up clearing the concrete and was making a path to his fort beneath the pine tree by moving the excess snow into the driveway. He’d quit complaining; the idea of a fort always warms a kid’s soul.
Next, it was time to slide down the snowbanks I’d made with cast-off snow, bringing avalanches flowing back down into the driveway. Then we went back inside to leave a trail of snowy clothes through the house as we boys must do. It helps make it challenging to find all our gear next time, and that’s an integral part of the ordeal.
Later, I snuck out alone to shovel the driveway.