“It’s like a winter wonderland!”
“This is just so, so pretty, don’t you think?”
Since winter started two weeks ago, these are some of the exaltations I have overheard other mothers say to their young children as they marvel together at nature’s majesty and their children’s ensuing, purportedly contagious, feelings of wonder.
It should warm my heart; it really should. But it doesn’t. It makes me first question if they’re serious because, truly, after any snow’s first fall, there is nothing beautiful, wonderland-like, or pretty about it. It’s dangerous, messy, filthy, and is literally a pain to move out of our way.
Then these mothers’ sweet words make me feel bad because here is what I say to my four-year-old as he basks in what he believes to be the beauty of the snow: “Come on, August, it’s cold. Let’s get in the car. I have gum.”
I have never been a sweet mother. Kind, I hope, and, of course, loving, but so very far from sweet. The tone I use to talk to and with my children is the same one I would use with anyone else in a similar situation. I am not the mother who can come up with clever crafts to while away a long afternoon. And despite its name you won’t find me remotely playful at a playground.
I am not whimsical, and I am not spunky, and having children has not changed that.
So, you won’t see me outside building a snowman with my children; however, I won’t stand in their way should they want to. And if they tell me the ten inches of snow we got last night is beautiful, I won’t tell them they’re wrong or even that I strongly disagree–because though my sons may not have the sweetest mother, they have one who lets them be themselves.
But that doesn’t mean that if being themselves involves my being cold I am above bribing them to get into my warm car.