Home Sweet Home


Rewind!!! Pic by my Bud(dy) Walter James

We’re through with the most fretful part of this snowstorm, I hope.  The refrain was unanimous – this is The Storm, one that could break an over 40-year record in 1967, when over two feet of snow fell for miles and miles.  This storm has blanketed a great stretch of the country, from Texas to Maine.  We certainly got more than our fair share here in the Midwest.  The temperatures are also bitterly cold, and will make for a less than eventful clean-up and lots of ice afterward.

It’s Day Two of being housebound with the children and I’ve stocked up on the essentials, as well as a few goodies – buttermilk for baking a cake, snacks, juiceboxes, water, some canned items, fruit, veggies, water, and everything else we may need including batteries, flashlights, candles, and Duraflame logs.  Admittedly, this was all a bit frightening at first.  My youngest daughter thought it would be great to make snow angels, but she’s so tiny that she’d fall right through. Some areas around my home exceed 22 inches, and there are drifts that are taller than my friend and neighbor, who has got to be at least six feet.  That’s even more troubling for us vertically-challenged folk!

I am going bananas inside!  I haven’t been able to go anywhere, and now I have a wicked case of cabin fever.  I love my little darlings and being with them, but what’s love got to do with it? I want out!  Snow is anything but picturesque when it’s parked on your front lawn, driveway, backyard, and in front of your door.

I usually spend little to no time talking about anything that’s less than joyful, but I just wanted to paint a picture and give you a backdrop for this morning’s post.  I get really bad cabin fever when I am indoors for too long. I become irritable, get the blues, and freak out as if the walls are closing in on me.  This seems to be more pronounced during adverse weather events.  I noticed this shortly after giving birth to my first child, who will soon be eleven years old.

While in the hospital, and severely medicated (death to Percocet and Darvocet!), I would look out the window, and all I could see was snow, ice, and slow, crawling traffic. The cars looked like little Matchboxes and the overhanging branches looked like they could snap under the weight of the ice.  Here I was, in this white box of a hospital room, with nurses coming by every few hours to ensure that I took my meds and had a bowel movement.   Come on, already! After 22 hours of labor and an emergency C-Section, I was becoming doubtful about this whole “Joy of Giving Birth” thing.  Though I was excited about the event of being a first-time mother to this most-gorgeous, round-face, bright-eyed little boy, I was anxious about taking him home in this dreadful weather.  Sadly so, I was also feeling a bit of paranoia take over me. To this day, I swear it had to do with being couped up inside a room for so long. Those five days felt like forever. I just wanted to go home!  Could I be experiencing post-partum?

Five days later, I was feeling a bit of the same even though I was home. Having a C-Section limits your movement and activity, to say the least, so again, I was inside. No white walls or box this time, but inside nonetheless. My husband (bless his heart),  started to notice what was happening , and insisted that I go outside regularly, even if I only stuck my head out the window for a few minutes!  A little fresh air would make all the difference, he maintained.  But now, as in February 3, 2011, where the heck am I supposed to step outside for some fresh air? The fresh air is as freaking cold as a naked witch’s tit in February!  What’s so fresh about that?  I.WANT.SPRING!  Day O!   Okay, okay, now that I’ve bitched about how terribly cold it is, and how dreadful this snow storm is, and about my cabin fever, I feel better.

But now, let me also share with you some of the blessings, the small beauties, of being housebound with my three children during this time.  We’re all healthy.  We have our medicines on hand should anyone go into an asthma attack.  We have warm shelter. Though we can all tell that it is certainly colder outside when we’re not wearing socks, the furnace is working.  We have food, flashlights (and batteries), as well as a generator should the power go out. (Oh Lawd, heaven help us all if I can’t figure out how to use it! )  We have a connection to the outside world – what do you think I’m doing here, talking to you?  – internet, phone, television. We have running water, clean clothes, and enough to do to keep us sane. The children have been reading, playing video games, watching TV, eating me out of house and home, playing tag, playing with toys, writing, and painting. Let me clarify that only the girls, ages 5 and 2, were painting and writing. The  2 year old is very confident about her scribbling as she is about her finger painting.  As for the 5 year old, she can paint and write all day, if you let her.  My oldest child, a boy,  isn’t a fan of creative arts, per se. He is my big-picture child.  Don’t ever bore him with backdrop.  “Put it back, and drop it…please Mom.”  😮 (I’d like to have an applause audio right here, instead of that ordinary smiley face.)

I have received more hugs, more closeness, and more love than I can stand. I have been introduced to a 1,000 year old snake, the star of a story written and illustrated by my 5-yr old, and bore witness to the nuptials of him and his “beautiful snake girl”. I’ve received a love letter from her as well, bearing that she’ll love me “no matter what”.  It closes with “you are the most loving mother in the world.” Aww…was I complaining about cabin fever? Over the course of the last two days, my 2-yr old has told me that I’m the “best mommy ever”, in the “whole wide world” at that, and my 10 yr old son has taken to reading my nookcolor, and even convinced me to download a book for him – something about Percy Jackson – which he has been reading, in earnest.  Hey, life ain’t half-bad.  Small beauties.

So I’m going to kick cabin fever as I would kick rocks, because there just ain’t no joy in staying at that layover for too long. Instead, I’ll treasure these moments, these small beauties, for when my children are good and grown, I’m certain that I’ll miss “snow days”.  I will crave their closeness as they grow and go their own ways, and will long for their love letters which make me feel so good inside, even when I don’t always get it right. I am sure that that day will come, so in the meantime, I will let them love me, as only young children can – with randomness, compassion, forgiveness, and innocence, all at once – even when I am stuck inside, surrounded by less-than-picturesque mountains of snow.

The Best Part of Waking Up is…

A photo of a cup of coffee.
A way too teenie-weenie cup of coffee

As I descend the staircase before making my morning cup of coffee, I can tell that it isn’t as cold outside this morning, by the absence of frost along the bottom of my front door. This is a good start for me.  I detest the winter, and all of the inconveniences of it – frigid temperatures, excessive clothing, black ice, slush, dirty piles of snow along the edges of the driveway and garage corners, and crunchy, salted sidewalks.  “I do not like it here, or there. I do not like winter, damn Sam-I-am!” While I do appreciate the seasonal nature of life, winter is clearly something I can do without.  Weren’t it for regular exercise, I’d go bananas due to the doldrums of winter.  To this day, I swear by the normalizing ability of exercise, particularly during the winter. It is my Zoloft, my Prozac – another random and seemingly mundane thing about me that I can’t live without – totally useful and critical for my survival.

The house is still quiet, and most of it remains unlit.  Even the sun lies asleep in its place, awaiting the right time to rise and brighten this corner of the Earth.  Thankful for this peaceful, uninterrupted part of the day, I contemplate the upcoming events of the day, and whether my youngest is well enough to resume her normal activities which would in turn allow me to resume mine! 🙂 I think of the appointments that require rescheduling and those to which I have firm commitments and cannot worm my way out of.

I usually have my morning cup of coffee with my “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby”, and when I can’t do that, I just don’t seem to rush to the coffeepot as quickly.  Morning coffee with him has become a favorite pastime.  Set against the tranquility of the morning; an unhurried household;  a space and time devoid of running feet, and strikingly absent  of petulant screams and demands, or whimpers from bumps and bruises incurred from running in the house – yet again – I am forced to consider him and him only.

He calls me his ‘fox’.

“You mean like Foxxy Brown Fox?”, I ask.

“No”, he says, “I mean like you’re a fox.  Better than beautiful. Beautiful and more. You’re all that and then some!”  (See Merriam Webster‘s definition Number 5. :0) )

Well damn boy, keep the compliments coming! They’re good for my ego.  Who doesn’t wanna hear that?

I call him my baby, my man, da’ bomb!  Always handling his business, so seemingly effortlessly and without ceasing.  His timeliness and attention to me as a husband and to our children as a dad, pulls me in over and over again.  If there are misses, they’re small.  In the bigger scheme of things, he takes care of the most important things, the ones that if left undone, life would be remarkably different around here.  He acknowledges that I regulate the heartbeat of this household, the mood and temperament of its life, its pulse, and as such, his goal is to keep me happy, and to check in – at coffee time and other times –  when I’m not. He does that and then some!

He is…my friend, my bestie ever!

He is…smart, beautiful, gracious, and humble.

Among other things, he is discerning, trustworthy, and always reliable.  He loves me carefully and recklessly, and seeks to please me regularly and often.  We drink our coffee together to start our day, to connect with each other, to check in, to pray.  Coffee time becomes more than a ritual now.  It becomes a memory, a favorite pastime, an important moment in our day.  No wonder the second cup isn’t as good as the first!

“The best part of waking up” is…drinking coffee with my “he is”, and waking up never felt so good. What’s in your coffee?

Here Comes the Sun!