I am absolutely no fun at all. Let’s just get that out of the way, right from the start. My daughter likes to tell people that I am a funsucker because, as she puts it, I can “suck the fun out of anything.”
From where I stand, deep in the middle of something called a Polar Vortex, I would have to agree. I want to have fun. I want to play with my kids and enjoy these extra days of Christmas vacation from school. I want this storm to be memorable in a good way.
But . . . it’s cold out there, guys. Really cold. As in “you go outside, you die” cold. As in “wind chill negative thirty-three degrees” cold. As in “hell no, you are not going outside to play in this” cold. As in “give me an afghan, some hot tea and a good book, and leave me alone” cold.
There are times when I hate being The Mom.
I would love to bundle up my Little Man and send him out to play in the snow. Hell, I played in the snow as a kid – without the thermal snow pants and protective gear that’s available today – and I survived. A pair of long johns, a couple pair of jeans, and a few layers of clothing under a hand-me-down coat, and I was good to go. There were times my fingertips or toes burned and tingled for hours afterward with what was probably frostbite, but I didn’t care. Sledding, Fox and Geese, King of the Mountain, snowball fights . . . there was just too much to do to waste time worrying about things like safety.
Come to think of it, I had my first kiss behind a snowdrift in the midst of a killer game of King of the Mountain under the streetlights. What in the hell were we doing playing in the snow after dark? Did we not have parents?
More to the point, what was that boy’s name and why didn’t we ever kiss again?
We had cold weather back then. I’m sure we had temperatures just as low as we have now, but we didn’t have Polar Vortices. We had cold snaps. We were apparently too stupid and scientifically challenged in those days to realize just how dangerous the weather really was.
There was a week-long blizzard when I was in seventh grade, but there was no cable or satellite TV back then, no videogames. So our choices were either playing outside or dying of boredom inside. I specifically remember planning to step from the highest snowdrifts to the roof so I could jump off into the deepest part of the back yard, just to see how deep it really was. If not for the minister next door calling my mother at the last minute to order me inside, I might have actually put that theory to the test.
Now that I am the mom, I have to be the sensible one. And being sensible means that I am not letting my five year-old go outside to play when they are blasting out all kinds of warnings every time I turn on the TV. No. It’s not happening. I don’t want to have to take my baby to the ER for frostbitten cheeks or toes. I may be sucking the fun out of his winter, but the boy is safe.
Unhappy, bored out of his mind, hating me, but safe.
See? Total funsucker.
We have played Trouble and Candyland and Monopoly Junior and Sorry and Hungry Hungry Hippos until my brain has gone numb. We have baked cookies and cakes and homemade bread until I can’t stand the smell of baked goods. And we have watched basically every Disney Movie ever made.
I am not sure of the scientific theory behind it, but I believe that snow days do not have 24 hours like other days. Snow days have at least 693 hours each. Minimum.
In short, I am bored out of my mind. I am even more bored than my five year-old. If it gets up over ten degrees out there today, my boy and I are hitting the snow. We can’t get into the barn to get his sled, but that’s okay; the snow is so deep and so soft that he would probably sink and be lost until spring anyway.
When my sisters and I were young, Mom used to tell us to “get outside and shake the stink off!” Yup, that’s the plan. I hate being cold, hate wading through snow that is deeper than mid-thigh, hate the fact that these frigid temperatures are sheer agony for every bone I have ever broken. But the boy and I are shaking off our stink today and getting outside.
I’m just hoping one of my teenagers sends out a search party if we’re not back in a half hour. Because that’s the kind of thing funsuckers like me worry about.