Playing in the snow

Little Guy's first time in the snowIt has been a crazy week here in “Oz”.
We got more than nine inches of snow on Wednesday night into Thursday morning and more Thursday afternoon. It closed our campus for Thursday and Friday. And that meant this new momma who grew up in North Dakota got to take her little one to play in the snow for the first time in his life.
***
I LOVE snow, always have. I was born in Virginia, nearly six weeks before my “due date”, and the way my mom tells it, every time snow was forecasted I would “want to be born.” I came in early March rather than mid-April. The snow never came.

I remember when we were getting ready to move to North Dakota – when I was four – my parents told me that “it snows there every year!” If they had only known then what they learned that first winter, I wonder if they would have done it.

I remember so clearly the first time I learned that seemingly magical truth. We had just gone to a car dealership and I wanted us to get the Jeep Wrangler with only rumble bars rather than roof. My mom explained that it wouldn’t make sense where we were going because “it snows a lot there. And it happens every year.” Later, when I would be apprehensive about moving so far away from everyone and everything we knew, my mom and dad would remind me of the snow.

I embraced it. And we only very rarely got days off from school because of it. My dad and I once made a snow fort of packed bricks with my mom’s meatloaf pan. I flew down “suicide hill” at the park more times than I can count and I can make snowballs pretty darn quickly (just don’t expect me to hit anything, I have terrible aim).

I was looking forward to playing in the snow with my child before I was even pregnant.

***
My son was born “the year without winter.” That’s what I called my first year in Kansas because snow was forecasted a bunch of times, but it never really came. The night we brought the Little Guy home from the birth center – the night I heard my bones gnashing as I climbed up those 27 stairs to our apartment with the aid of my husband and father-in-law – it snowed. Very lightly, but enough to catch on your tongue. It comforted me in that scary time. My son was welcomed into our home as that serene, white blanket covered the ground. I saw it as just a little bit of help. And maybe a sign that he would be a snow-baby, too.
***

As the storm that the local paper dubbed the “Blizzard of Oz” approached this week, I wondered if I would feel up to being outside at all. Air pressure changes have done a number on me on many occasions since the holidays. I did not want my surgically-repaired diastasis symphysis pubis to keep me from experiencing this first real snow with my son. I did not want to end up spending a SNOW DAY on the couch with my heating pad.

I went to sleep on Wednesday trying to thing good thoughts, trying to visualize success. I felt good, strong and ready for anything as I climbed into bed. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Thursday because of the pain in my pelvis. I looked out the window and there was maybe three inches of snow on the ground. Pristine and crisp with not a single tire-track or footprint. I climbed back into bed with my heating pad on and tried to go back to sleep. (It was an hour earlier than I would have woken up for work, but I already knew campus was closed.) I couldn’t sleep until nearly 8 a.m., when the pain finally started to ease. Turns out, we got nearly three inches of snow an hour for those two hours.

And, to my complete surprise and delight, I woke up at about 10:30 a.m. with no pain. Not even tightness or discomfort. GAME ON! We would get to play outside!

The three of us had a relaxed morning before my husband left to work a basketball double-header. The team from Kearney, Neb. drove down the day before to avoid the weather so the games had to be played. While the Little Guy took his afternoon nap, I got dressed in warm clothes. As soon as he woke up we would venture outside.

I bundled him up in a long-sleeved T-shirt and fleece vest, a pair of Baby Legs, fleece pants and workout shorts on top. I was hoping the material would keep him as dry as possible. Then his coat and hat, socks and shoes. I wanted him to be warm enough for at least 30 minutes of snow fun. Out we went.

There was no wind and the sun shown down warmly on us. I broke the crust of the snow with my boot and tried to make a place for us right near our front door. I thought, if he could see the front door he would know we weren’t lost in all of this white stuff. I sat him down, facing the door. I sat down next to him. He looked all around (as pictured) and got more and more concerned.

When I dropped hands full of snow on my own head he got upset. When I flopped over into the snow – in an effort to show him it was fun – he lost his little mind. He was a complete wreck. He wouldn’t touch it. Wouldn’t taste the snowball I made for him, didn’t even calm down enough to enjoy the sun on his face.

Not what I had imagined. After less than 10 minutes I carried my devastated little boy – who turned 13-months old that day – back into the house. We snuggled until he was relaxed again. Then he was off to play and had a terrific day. I decided we would try again, reminding myself that obviously this first experience doesn’t determine whether he will ultimately enjoy the snow. Friday turned out to be a snow day, too. My husband and I took him out and he did a little better – just a little. Maybe next year will be more fun. And make more sense to him.

And, this also surprised me, I was not the least bit upset. I was so elated that I was able to sit in the snow, crawl on my knees in the snow, flop myself like a rag doll into the snow. And I didn’t pay for it later. I just felt like me!

Yoga is making a difference. My exercises from Amy are making a difference. The forearms and toes plank is still hard. But I can do it. And I’ll start going to the gym on our campus for workouts with the elliptical, leg press and core training classes soon. I had a fitness assessment and and getting an exercise prescription from the wellness staff next week.

I’m even starting to think about spring and PRETTY SHOES!

It’s happening. It’s slow. And right now the emotional aspects of my recovery are much more challenging than the physical. But I am gaining confidence now.

We are looking forward to more adventures outside. And to being the family we imagined we would be.

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