A Mother Of A Snowstorm

Once upon a time, there was a wistful and oh-so-wise woman in her twenties, who magically knew, just KNEW, how she would do everything rightly and wonderfully when she herself was someday herself a mother. Consistent discipline, children who were taught to shake the hand of and make eye contact with all intersecting adults, always using grace-never-guilt-based parenting, bribing be lazy and off-limits and any television viewing over thirty minutes per day per child would be a serious sign of neglectful parenting. Oh sure, she reasoned, there would naturally be an occasional hiccup, but in general, she had high hopes for playing the role of "mother" with grace and dignity. Children are little, tiny, moldable people...how hard could it be? All these things, however, paled in comparison to what this aspiring future-mother envisioned during the cold winter months while tucked in her drafty Human Resources cubical:

The Mother of a Snowstorm

In her fantasies, the young professional woman effortlessly pictured a future morning, when in her satin nightgown and sparkly slippers, would tip-toe with anticipation into the darkened rooms with little tiny heads slumbering deeply upon Pottery-barn encased pillows whilst the wind and snow blew against their windows. "I can't wait to tell them! But perhaps I should let them sleep", she would think to herself, holding the surprise of another day at home with her little lovies close to her heart. She would wait, but she could not sit still. Instead, she prepared home made cinnamon rolls, hopeful the cozy smell of yeast and sugar and cinnamon would rouse them from their sweet dreams. Close to nine o'clock, after she had meditated, read, made love, showered and applied her makeup, little footsteps came gingerly down the steps...

"Mama? Mama? Is now a good time for us to wake up?"

"Yes, little lovies. Mama's here. Full of the Holy Spirit and good cheer. I couldn't wait to see you!"

She couldn't wait to tell them that indeed, she had not awoken them with the usual "Good Morning, Star Shine, The Earth Says Hello" song because the kindly radio man had announced no school again today.

Quiet cheers erupted and they sank into their plush kitchen chairs, the sound of forks gently sliding across plates full of homemade icing and tender pastry. Their little necks strained to look out the window, eyeing up the bitterly cold landscape. 

"We don't want to go outside mama. We just want to stay in and read and play in our rooms quietly, please".

"{Gentle laughter}, Oh, you sweet darlings. Of course. Stay warm. But mama has some fun things planned for today! Have you ever heard of homemade Play Doh? Oh yes, we're going to make it! And then after our two-hour naptime, I'm going to show you how to make paper snowflakes, with thousands of little cut-outs. It's going to be SO. MUCH. FUN!"

{Squeals of laughter at the promise of a day brimming full of mirth and merriment}.

Ma Ingalls would be hard pressed to be a better Mother of a Snowstorm. The crown was hers. Alllll hers.


6:00AM, EST : Child approaches the mother's side of the bed. 

"Mom? Mom. Mom.......Mom!"


"Can I go downstairs and play Minecraft?"

"No. Go back to sleep."

"But why? I'll be really quiet."

"Because I said no. Goodnight".

"But mom, can I just watch one episode of Some Assembly Required on Netflix?"

"No, go back to bed and sleep in like normal children do on day's off".

"Just one?"

"Fine. But keep the volume below 20".

A few minutes later mother slides out of bed, realizes her nightshirt from Target is on backwards, reaches for her trusty, fluffy robe of ten years and shuffles downstairs to start the coffee. Husband stays sleeping. She whispers "sweet dreams", dripping a little love...and a lot more sarcasm. 

Coffee brewed, she sits down to read her spiritual books to set her day off a peaceful manner, asking the child in the next room to turn down the television. Naturally, said offspring cannot find the remote, and Netflix renders the volume button on the television useless. She pushes through, reading Psalms while hearing juvenile jokes about passing gas. Within minutes, she hears what sounds like a herd of American Buffalo stampeding  upstairs and then down the stairs, but what turns out to be her sure-footed daughter and one son. They come down asking for donuts. She gives a half-hearted smile and moves them along, saying it's way too early to be thinking about breakfast, go sit down and watch Television until I'm ready to address you. 

By seven o'clock, all five children are in full awake-mode, claiming starvation and wanting to get the gear that has taken over the back laundry room, on the floor, hanging from doors, cupboards and an other crevice that will hold their previously sopping structures.

She instructs them to help themselves to a donut. She also firmly announces that NO ONE is going outside until 9AM. And when they DO go outside, they will not be coming in and out, in and out, willy nilly, as they had been the previous three days. Nay, they will be OUT FOR A GOOD FULL HOUR. "If you have to pee, color the snow", she lovingly informs them.

Scrubbing last night's crusty casserole plate and collecting two zillion Lite-Bright bulbs spilled on the floor, she hears the fighting begin. The victim was the one who "never gets to pick the show HE likes".  She feels her blood pressure start to rise as she waits for the first offended one to come bursting into the kitchen, explaining his case right before the next one comes into to offer his/her side of the story. It is 7:30am. Nanny Tele Vision had already given up the gig. She sinks against the counter in despair, having a near-hot flash in her fuzzy robe as she numbly considers that she is facing another long day, a period of time in which the honeymoon aura after a blizzard has surely died, along with the desire to make more hot chocolate, stuff 8000 articles of wool and synthetic, puffy fabrics through into the dryer or referee 200 more arguments in a calm and adult manner.

She thinks back to the visions of her youth, and wonders what happened. Why isn't she yearning to read, or craft, or teach Origami to her children? Where is the soft voice and gentle manner? Where have all the quiet, mild-mannered children gone? What about that sleeping in part?

Admittedly, she was WINNING on Day One. Had a snowstorm offered only ONE DAY OFF from school, she would have nailed it. They had hot chocolate THREE TIMES (WITH marshmallows!), they had sledded, helped daddy plow, all their snowy labors and frolicking documented by their dutiful mother. Sure, she sighed a little when they came in after a few minutes, claiming frost bite but she grinned and bore it well as she heaved the heavy garments into the dryer for the first of 2,000 cycles. She had taught them all how to play the card game of her youth, and even patiently instructed the youngest how to shuffle. "They'll never forget this storm!" her husband had said...and she agreed. She sent pictures to their teachers and thanked God it was a weekend storm. How providential.

Then time moved like molasses and there she was on Day Three, which also happened to be Monday, a day typically reserved for education of children.  The Holy Ghost she had invited into her day at 6:10AM was nary to be found by 7. She kept wondering how her homeschool mama friend's did this year-round and calculated just  how much they could judge her by her lamenting (read: free therapy) Facebook posts--or at least how SHE would if she were one. She WANTED to be the mama of her former fantasies, DESIRED to be even-keeled and engaging even when the spirit of the household was "lively" (ahem)...but dagnabit, she was SPENT. DONE. No crafts, no games, only go-to-your-room and duke-it-out and here's-my-phone was left in her. 

When it came down to it, she did everything all over again on Day Three. Even the hot chocolate.  She wasn't a rock star, she wasn't June Cleaver and she didn't look or smell pretty...but she was THERE. And being THERE is a whole lot more than many mama's get to be, and being THERE more than many children get to experience. A loving (albeit a bit harried) backdrop in the memories of her children, praying that as adults, they would look back on the snow storms of their childhood and only remember all the DAY ONES.
You were a Mother of A Snowstorm, not Mother Of The Year. Stop trying to confuse the two and move on. Spring is coming.

In Jesus' Name, 


Sarah Gingrich said…
Giggling in commiseration.
Christina said…
Nina Newswanger said…
Love it all!! And agree!!

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