Winter Looks Different

Winter used to be my favorite season. That’s not something you hear often, is it? No one typically looks forward to winter. It’s cold. It’s dark. The roads can become sketchy in an instant. 

So what’s there to like? 

Christmas, for one, is my favorite holiday. So much so that I enjoy stretching it out into November, which can be displeasing to some. It’s joyful. People are generally happy. The decor is over the top and I love it.

Don’t fret though, as when December 26th hits, I enjoy taking down all of the holiday decor. I turn my house back into a bright and light sanctuary, in hopes that spring will come early. 

It doesn’t. 

No, in fact, it tends to get snowier and colder as we move into January. Take today for instance. We are projected to get five to eight? inches of snow. It is pretty, I’ll admit it. My boys are excited, and when they’re excited, I’m excited. 

However then there’s the little voice in the back of my head that says – ha! You’re four months pregnant. Good luck fitting into your snow pants to play outside with your boys. That voice is right. Fourth baby and I personally feel like I look 30 weeks pregnant rather than nineteen. It’s been a hard pill to swallow with insecurities mounting, but in the end, it’s all worth it. 

Years ago, I would rejoice in this. I would welcome it, as that meant the hills in Eastern Iowa or Western Illinois were also getting snow. Which meant prime conditions for snowboarding. I realize now, looking back, that snowboarding was my escape in the winter time. 

We all have our favorite hobbies and activities we enjoy and snowboarding had always been mine. I imagine it will be again one day, when my boys are older. I’ve always dreamt of getting them out on the hill and eventually out to Colorado with me, but that has been easier said than done as we add to our brood. 

We’ve chosen this path for our family and I absolutely don’t regret an ounce of it. I want to make that clear. I don’t want to put the misconception out there that I’m ungrateful for what I have. I think sometimes we all have our harder days or days of missing who we used to be, however it’s just not talked about. Is it?

Listen, I am trying to be positive here for my readers’ sake, but I’m finding myself in a funk. 

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, missing what used to be. It’s not to say, I wish to erase my present. Not at all. And I know in the future, when we are out of the diaper stages with our sweet babes, the freedoms will expand exponentially. 

As I write this I cringe to myself, and I do hope I’m not the *only* one to feel this way. Feeling like I’m missing out on life. Will I publish this? I suppose by now you know the answer.

I read a lot about mothers who have felt like they’ve lost themselves. I certainly relate. I’m a very different person than I was five years ago. Personally I think for the better, if we’re looking at myself as a whole. 

But if I were to pick apart small things, I’m not terribly happy with some of the changes.

I have more anxiety than I did five years ago. 

I’m not as comfortable talking to others as I was five years ago. I’m not nearly as outgoing.

I’m far more self-conscious than I was five years ago. 

I have fewer social relationships than I did five years ago. 

I have far more worries than I did five years ago.

Those are a few things I think about regularly.

But, do you know what I do have? A few things that I didn’t have five years ago.

Such as…

A little boy who tells me he loves me 50 times a day.

Two little boys who tell me regularly “You’re the best mom ever.”

Three little boys who I can cuddle with, all on my lap, despite my growing belly.

An unborn baby who has no idea how much they’re loved already. 

A husband, who despite my tree buying habit, loves me unconditionally (I don’t think that trees are the WORST thing I could be buying). 

Family, and a few close friends, who I could call or text and unload on or talk aimlessly about everything and nothing. Though honestly texting comes much easier, if you don’t want to hear three little boys screaming at me in the background.

I have new relationships, that I didn’t have five years ago.

I have this and more that I am so grateful for and I remind myself on these colder, darker, winter days where I’m feeling a little lower than usual. 

You see, I don’t think it’s out of line to have these low moments. It’s natural, right? But it’s so important, for myself especially, to work on flipping that switch and reflect on what I’m blessed with. Which is a lot. And so we, my three boys and I, blast our dance music and launch into a dance party. Our favorite songs right now are anything out of Poppy’s mouth.

But it’s also a reminder that despite someone’s smile on their face, they may be struggling. Faking it even. So be kind. 

……

I didn’t intend to write this today. But it is the first time in four months that I feel like I’ve written something of actual substance and meaning, so I decided to go with it. I could also ramble on, but I better not.

It became far longer than I anticipated, and if you have gotten this far, I thank you. And I hope you are having a great day, whether it’s in the snow or in the sun. And just know, if you’re enjoying the beach or mountains somewhere, I am thinking about you, and very. very. envious. So enjoy every moment. I’ll enjoy all of that again someday.

But for now, I will enjoy my four-year-old talking my ear off about dinosaurs, because he knows far more than me. I’ll celebrate my two-year-old’s success over potty training. I’ll soak up the kisses and giggles of my one-year-old.

My winters look a little different these days. But that’s okay. I hope, despite how your winters look, you’re able to enjoy the little things as well.

Until next time, 

Ashley

2 thoughts on “Winter Looks Different

  1. Indeed, my 63rd winter differs greatly from my 35th winter, when I welcomed my baby girl into the world. Four siblings enjoyed the sledding while baby kept warm inside.
    By the 40th, I would be a (surprised) young grandfather, as son #2 brought the first of six such blessings. My own children were growing quickly. Snowshoeing and snowman-building took a downturn for a few years. Graduations and weddings and babies an upturn.
    Then our darkest days, when my son was killed in an accident at 22.
    We cleaved unto one another during this time. Though our pain was great, our enduring together made us stronger. It slapped us hard in the face, demanded we awaken to the finite number of days we will share. Demanded we value every moment as precious.
    The 50th looked yet again different. Now the sledding was done with my children in the role of parent, as another generation rode Nishan Hill to the tree line.
    In my 61st winter, my father followed my mother to the grave. Not long after, my wife of 39 years joined them. Now my children were my whole world, and we cleaved unto one another again.
    My eldest daughter turns 47 on the 23rd of January.
    The “baby” of my 35th winter is now 38.
    Your post was an exhilarating walk down memory lane for me. Perhaps it is not without tears, but the smiles and laughter and countless “I Love you”‘s far outweigh them.
    “In the trenches” I call that time in our lives. Life seems so big and full and keeps rolling day to day. Those things of the pre-trench days fall away. The buddies, the pursuits.
    It is this very simple instinct to focus on that which is immediately before us that propels us for the decades-long odyssey that is parenthood.
    I could try to tell you about what awaits you on the other side. It is magic.
    But it would be like an astronaut trying to describe what it is like to walk on the moon.
    You’ll know when you get there.

    You take care now.

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

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