Living Slow in the Snow.
We experienced our first full week of snow in Norfolk this week.
After waiting for close to five years for a proper downfall, we were not disappointed.
Overnight, the landscape was transformed into a winter wonderland of gorgeously light and puffy snow, perfect for crunching underneath one’s feet and even more perfect for making snowmen.
We had two enthusiastic attempts at snow-building.
The first was a practice run but the second was magnificent.
Our boys rolled an enormous snowball all the way along a 1km stretch of country lane. Each turn, catching more ice and the end result being taller and wider than my 6ft, 17 year old.
This large orb nows sits in the front of our garden, sporting a head and stick arms, with the obligatory beanie and scarf adorning his head and neck.
Sledding was the next obvious move and never far from the children’s minds.
As parents, we were delighted to finally retrieve from the loft, our brand new sleds – naively purchased at the beginning of our first winter in the UK.
How foolish one can be!
It’s just as well we had no idea how long those little red speed boats were to be stored for.
Every winter we waited with baited breath when the weather fell below zero, hoping that we would experience a bitterly cold snap, generating a decent snowfall.
The children, they see the delight and excitement in the change of the weather, straining and longing to just get out there in the elements and play. Hoping that there will be a snow day and pass from attending school, which doesn’t affect our four youngest, but does our 17 year old in Year 12.
Children don’t seem to mind the biting cold and the fact that they can’t feel their feet. They want to throw, eat and make snow angels in the ice.
I have much to learn from my children, still. Every day they challenge me to look beyond the responsibilities of being an adult and just enjoy playing.
When did I stop playing?
There are some days I would like to cancel my subscription as an adult and retreat back to being a child.
More fun and less worry is generally the norm – and I want to be more like that.
The second school of thought is, of course, the adults.
We are the ones who think about whether the snow is safe, as we scramble about trying to find enough pairs of thick socks for our kid’s feet not to freeze. We tell them to zip their jackets up all the way and won’t let them outside until they have gloves on to protect their little fingers.
We grumble when the kids come in wet and cold – at the puddles on the floor and the dripping clothes to dry.
We worry whether we will be able to drive to the grocery store and do we have enough milk for those warming hot chocolates the kids ask for?
We make a mental risk assessment as to how dangerous it would be to crawl at 40mph to the local corner store, with every chance it is also closed. And then we will have to make another decision whether the roads are clear to drive to the next large village and buy supplies. Note to self on driving in a snow storm – don’t do it, even for milk! Drink water and wait. We drove to the GP and to the store and ended up stranded in a snow blizzard covered field for two hours. Not the wisest move. I definitely went wrong somewhere on my risk assessment of weather conditions.
Play doesn’t often naturally come into our heads. It seems we revert to decision-making, planning and worry.
It’s likely that the snow and ice will be around for some time and my plan is to do more of the playing and less of the worrying (unless in a snow storm and then we will stay away from vehicles with four wheels).
So what if we have beans on toast for dinner, or eggs and ham another night? If the children wear the same clothes for a few days and recycle their socks on the radiator for another adventure outside – does it really matter?
It doesn’t make me a bad mother.
It makes me a fun mother.
One who smiles and engages fully with the children without my mind drifting to other concerns.
Like this snow week, I have fallen into the trap of the worrying mum.
The one who keeps adding to her to-do list whilst she is indoors and her children play outside. Granted, I did play for a bit but when my fingers turned blue, I retreated into the warmth with hot tea and a hot water bottle, watching the children through from the comfort of my snuggly chair.
Slow living is a conscious and daily effort of saying no to life pulling you in one direction, and putting your hand back on your heart and declaring what is most important to you.
That is slow living and that is when you will see the rewards of your decisions.
For me, those rewards come in such beautiful ways. Huge hugs from my children saying thank you for being their mummy.
Small twinnie hands holding mine under the covers of my duvet in the dead of night and whispered “I love you’s” over and over.
It’s the cries of “mummy watch me!” and “did you see that!” and most fun of all, “mummy chase me!” – not easy in the snow but a great workout.
These are the beautiful snap-shots of living intentionally slower.
I want more of them in abundance and less of the world pulling me away.
I desire slow every single day and I will fight for it with the power of the lioness that is the driving force within me.