A friend messaged me yesterday morning and asked if we–that is, the two of you and I–had been outside playing in the snow at all yet.
Because yesterday we woke up to a wet and wintry white mix of snow and slush on the ground.
At the very moment I was listening to her message, I was standing PJ-clad in the dining room with a cup of tea and a candle lit on the table and my fuzzy slippers on my feet.
Definitely not playing in the snow.
Definitely didn’t have any plans to.
The two of you, however, were already outside. Bundled up and squeezed into last year’s snow gear–I’m really hoping we can make it through another year–you were already tromping around the yard, eating snow, you told me later. You managed to make a snowman, tried to climb the new ladder your dad nailed to a tree in the yard, repeatedly went down the slide, and made “chocolate” slush.
I dutifully made you hot cocoa when you came in from playing, literally wet through all of your layers of clothing.
This morning, again we woke to snow, and this morning, again, you went outside to enjoy it before piano lessons. And this morning, again, I stayed inside.
This, girls, is what I want to say: I am so glad I don’t have to pretend to enjoy playing in the snow anymore.
I’m so glad you are old enough to be outside by yourselves and entertain one another.
I’m so glad you have each other.
But mostly I’m glad I get to stay inside.
I don’t even mind that you still need some assistance in the bundling up and the un-bundling when you come inside. (If your boots weren’t too tight, I think you could probably manage that on your own, but it requires sheer force at the moment to get them on and off.)
Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy spending time with you. We spend a lot of time together. A lot. And not just because of the global pandemic. I will make art with you and read aloud to you all the live long day. There are many things I love to do, with you.
But I am not a snow-playing, sledding, snowperson-building mom.
Also, let it be known: I’m not an ocean-playing, sand-castle-building mom.
And while we’re at it: Nor a pool-playing mom.
It’s not like I can’t do those things, of course. I’ve successfully pretended to find joy doing them for many years, for your sake. Sigh.
When your dad’s around, he’s happy to do those things, thanks be to God. But when he’s not around, I’m so glad I can be honest with you now that you’re a wee bit older, and say, you know what, I’d rather not. You go have fun.
And you do.
There’s no huge moral lesson hidden here in this letter, girls. I just wanted it to be said: I’m glad I don’t have to pretend to be the kind of mom I’m not.