When snow comes to Seattle, things shut down. Any amount of snow, really, leads to school closures, road closures, delayed mail delivery, canceled garbage pickup, and commencement of friendly whining banter with neighbors. If any of the white stuff makes its way to the ground, we all stand around in amazement with our feet chilled in the 2 inches of snow on our driveways. “Can you believe all this SNOW? In WINTER? Weird, right?”
Every year it happens once or twice. The kids freak out and want to build a snowman with whatever bits of sleet and snow we can scrape together with mud and grass as filler. They slide down the hill until they hit the slush puddles and the parents declare that a good winter has been enjoyed by all. Then we all go back to complaining about the rain and fighting away our S.A.D.ness with the rays from our therapeutic, full-spectrum, mood-enhancing lights.
Yes, winters are dark here and seldom very white, so each year we escape to exotical winter paradises like Montana or Utah to spend time cuddling with grandparents and frolicking in the snow they so obligingly provide. For this Canadian transplant, a crucial part of Christmas has been spending some quality winter snow time with friends and family and watching my kids get a taste of festive freezatiousness.
But this year, we decided to stay home. We decided that gas was too expensive, that winter driving was too scary, and that the kids were old enough to make our little foursome a fully functional family who could make holiday magic together. I’ve been having a really hard time with it. When anyone asks me what my holiday plans are, I try to smile and say, “We’re just staying here. Having a family Christmas at home.” Then my voice will crack like a teenage boy and I’ll say, “It’s our first time doing Christmas without our ‘families’.” Then I change the subject. There’s something big and scary and grown up about being out here in a strange state, celebrating Christmas without my mommy.
But then the snow started. It started in low and it started to grow. It’s been snowing and snowing and dumping and dumping with freezing cold temperatures and we’ve all been stuck at home for days. Laylee’s entire last week of school was canceled, and for good reason. We really couldn’t get her to where she needed to be safely. We live in a town full of steep hills with no real infrastructure to clear them of snow. One major road in town has been closed down and is being used by neighborhood kids for sledding, skiing, and snowboarding.
So we’re stuck in our house with few exceptions. Dan works from home on his laptop, and we’ve canceled a lot of our scheduled Christmas activities … and many of them have canceled on us. The strange thing is, it’s been wonderful. It’s a white Christmas. We’ve been forced to simplify and slow down. We’re safe and warm and we love each other. Our home feels so cozy as we look out onto the back deck piled high with two feet of snow while we are all cuddled up with hot cocoa, story books, and the occasional cabin fever meltdown.
We made the decision to stay home and now with the weather, we’re forced to. And it’s wonderful. Merry Christmas, everyone! Stay cozy.