My year of Yes kicks off with a biggie: snow.
I live in the mountains and I love it…in the summer. Our summers are glorious. But winter snow, while lovely to look at from the couch, creates issues in my single-mom life, which are as follows:
- Driving in it.
- Shoveling it.
- I hate being cold.
And finally – and here’s a big and intimate one – snow is, for whatever reason, romantic to me. Steve loved it – I mean he loved, LOVED it. That’s why he moved us here. He loved watching it fall. He even loved shoveling. And every time it snowed at night, we would open the blinds on our window and lay in bed and watch it fall. So, this year, the thought of snow feels especially cold and especially lonely.
However, here’s a thing and this thing is undeniable: Snow is going to fall in Central Oregon and it’s going to fall often. In fact, it would appear that it’s going to fall tomorrow. I cannot say No to snow. It will not listen (and the skiers will want to punch me.) Since snow is coming regardless, I have been thinking about what I can say Yes to. Surely, there’s something snow can bring to my life if I will say Yes, instead of kicking and screaming. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
- Yes to tradition. Since my kids were teenies, we have celebrated the first day of snow with hot chocolate and buttered toast. Now that some of them are older, we also celebrate by meeting at one of our favorite restaurants for hot buttered rum. These are gifts of snow and relationship. They are gifts of our history, but they are tied to the white stuff and so I am thankful for it.
- Yes to gratitude. Nothing makes my house feel warmer inside, than snow on the outside. I will light a fire in the wood stove and be thankful for shelter.
- Yes to memories. It’s tempting right now to keep tender memories of life with Steve buried out of reach and out of touch. I would focus entirely on moving forward if I thought I could get away with it. But I know I can’t. I know grief is sneaky – it doesn’t just stay where we put it because we tell it to. I’m trying to learn to leverage the moments where his absence is most profound and poignant to fully feel and express what I’m feeling to the only One who is able to walk me through those waves of sorrow. This first snow without Steve is a chance to feel his absence from another angle. The kids and I will tell stories about him loving foul weather and we’ll laugh and clink our hot chocolate mugs to his memory. And I will say Yes to the memories and the bittersweet work they do in my soul.
UPDATE 11/30/15: This is Day 7 of Snowpocalypse. The snow fell and fell and fell (a foot and a half!) along with the temperatures, which means: it’s STILL HERE. What we have now is a tangled mess of icy snarls on the roads. I’m glad I wrote this before it came, because I had to remind myself of my Yes decision about four hundred times: As I shoveled and scraped, as I braved the mountain pass to go to an important family event, as one car’s door locks froze and refused to budge, as I rescued Tori from the hospital parking lot where her little car hunkered down for the duration.
I didn’t live my Yes as perfectly as I had planned it. There were moments of fist-shaking and sigh-making, but I DID, I’m happy to say, do better than I would have otherwise. I embraced the adventure of the crazy Bend streets and the way our city comes together during storms. I was overcome with gratitude for my car and it’s scrappy, gutsy snow faring ways. I bought snow tires – a decision I had been on the fence about, but I’m so glad I did it. I drank a lot of hot chocolate with my kids and watched about a million Thanksgiving episodes of sitcoms.
And finally, I took a late-night walk in the falling snow and had a little talk with Steve. I thanked him for teaching me to love all kinds of weather. I thanked him for all those years of shoveling with not a single complaint. I told him I missed him quite desperately, but was doing pretty well considering I’m just a girl with the shakiest-possible Yes. And in that pretty, white dream of a night, Steve’s smiles fell soft all around me, glistening and glimmering, and I scooped them up and tucked them away for the next Yes.
Yes to tradition. Yes to gratitude. Yes to memories.
Thank you, Snow.