Wednesday, January 09, 2013

a blanket of snow

'My security blanket soaks up all my fears and frustrations'
~Linus, from the Charlie Brown movie, "Happiness is a Warm Blanket"~

My husband always told me that it is beautiful up at the cottage in the winter, and that one day we should try to ring in the New Year with a feast of snow crabs and lobster, then cuddle under cozy blankets, drinking hot chocolate in the snowy cottage in the woods.  Honestly, I'm not sure how much I really like snow. And there seems to be so many excuses obstacles that I made to avoid going to the cottage in the winter.  "There's two feet of snow!"  "We'll have to lug all that luggage, food and snowsuit-bundled children through this snow!"  "We have to drive two hours just to see more snow!"

So as the snowflakes fell on Boxing Day, as I was thinking about all the shovelling we had to do, I heard cheers of glee and bewilderment outside.  I peeked out of the window and in their backyard, I saw my new neighbours, who just moved to this country, playing and photographing each other in the snow.  It was their first time to ever see it. Snow.  I couldn't help but smile as I watched them (both Mom and kids) gingerly touch, smell and make shapes out of the white fluffy stuff.

The "Mom" of the house told me that she was so excited to shovel the snow (we'll see how long that excitement lasts...).  As she was taking endless phone pics of her children playing road/snow hockey on our driveway (to Facebook the photos back home to her friends), I realized we had more in common than I originally thought.

When we had them over for a hot cocoa and tea, she almost beamed as she told us about the 24 hour flight across the seas with 3 children, starting from scratch in a new home she barely saw on the internet, navigating this new country speaking her second language (her family attended international school, so they learned English back at home), with no vehicle (or drivers license), a spouse that travels for months between two countries, and how she missed her Mom and sister.  She said the only reason she moved to this country was for her kids.  There was no other reason. Because she too, wanted to create a life of beautiful memories for her children in this land of the free.

So I took her stories of all the obstacles and challenges she faced this past year as a new way to look at 2013. Although I don't make New Year resolutions, I do generally try to experience a new year with a new outlook or shall we say, "theme".  Last year the "theme" of the year was to "create memories".  Whenever I was at a crossroads, I would ask myself if the choice I made would create a lasting impression or memory.  And then take the road towards creating a beautiful one.

This year my theme is "do".  Even if it's difficult.  Especially if it is difficult.  Having an obstacle would give me even more of a reason to overcome it, because I believe the saying "good things don't come by easily" is very true.  It takes a lot of work. There will be struggles.  There will be frustrations.  I will be tired.  However, I will take the title as "parent" as my own security blanket...that no matter how worried, tentative or just plain exhausted I feel...I will use my role as this "security blanket" to soak up all the fears and frustrations, and "just do it for the kids".   Just do.

So on New Year's Eve, against my perceived "obstacles", we packed our bags on a last minute whim...and just drove.  We dealt with the snow, the luggage, the food and bundled up the kids.  We had our seafood feast, cuddled under cozy sleeping bags and enjoyed our snowy cottage in the woods.  It was an entirely new and amazing experience for us as a family.  And it just took a few hours for us to feel revitalized and renewed in our familial bond.  Although we didn't get to ski (our original plan) or party with friends (our usual plans), this "new" celebration made me feel like a kid again.  And through my children's eyes, I was able to experience the bewilderment of the season.

My husband was right.  It really is beautiful at the cottage during the winter.  And for the first time in a very long time, I truly enjoyed that blanket of snow.

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