So, I have to admit, I live in South Florida, where winter means it gets below 70 degrees and the news tells everyone to bring the plants in.
Yeah… I know… we’re crazy.
I did grow up in Minnesota, though. Need I say more?
I think I earned the rest of my life off from what everyone else thinks of as winter. I remember buying Halloween costumes large enough to fit over our snowsuits, and watching the flakes fall as we ran from house to house dressed up as best we could.
I remember making snow angels, and then laying there and staring at all the different shapes of the snowflakes next to my face. My family even had an old recliner that my grandfather put skis on and pulled behind the snowmobile… but that’s another story for another time. ?
I remember watching the school closings scroll across the bottom of the news screen in the morning just praying for the day off… but my school district valued our education so much that that was a rare occurrence. Forty below – that’s nothing – come to school! (For the record, I’m not sure if that actually happened, but it sure felt like it as a kid when you would see every school but yours closed or two-hour delayed.)
I used to make the annual journey home to visit family during the holidays, but that came to an abrupt end a couple of years ago. My husband got so sick that we had to rent a hotel for three days to make sure he didn’t get anyone else sick.
As soon as we checked in, we cranked the shower as hot as it would go to completely steam up the room, and then bought a humidifier to maintain the humidity. I would leave to go get meals or visit my family for the afternoon while he stayed in the bed, watching football, praying for his nose to stop running. I would return and open the door, and it felt like you were literally stepping into Miami. We still laugh about how we were able to completely alter the climate of that room.
It brought him back to life enough to get on the plane and come home. It was just too much for our bodies, and I had to explain to my family that we just can’t physically do it anymore. I might be miserable, but his body shut down. (I was muttering like a crazy lady about the cold in the airport. I’m still surprised that TSA didn’t pull me in for questioning. I lost my mind it was so cold! It didn’t get above zero for five consecutive days – What. Is. That?!)
Now that I’m in South Florida, winter has a new vibe to it, and I will admit… it feels weird. Winter for me is enjoying my book outside after a long day. It’s admiring the clear sunny skies with happy clouds, and opening the windows on “chilly” days to appreciate the fresh air filling the house. It’s friends around the fire pit in the backyard, and riding around with the windows down on errand runs.
I don’t say all of this to rub in anyone’s face the possibly frigid temperature you’re facing today, or the routine of bundling up as you walk out the door… I say all of this to remind myself that this season is about enjoying things while they’re great because… I hate the summer. Yeah… I have the opposite problem.
Summer in South Florida is like walking on the sun. It’s just so hot… and humid… and walking to the house just from the car makes you want to immediately jump in the shower since you’re already drenched in sweat. While everyone else in the country is outside doing all of the things that I enjoy doing in the winter, I’m miserable… and can’t stop sweating (and usually swearing! ?). Some days it feels like you’re just swimming in the air: the humidity is stifling.
So, when I think about what winter brings to my mind… its perspective. Remembering to enjoy the nice weather, time outside with friends, and to be thankful that while I may sweat my ass off in the summer… I’m not freezing to death in the winter. When I see my friends complain about the roads in the snow, and the sun going down at 4pm, I remind myself that my days of enjoyment are numbered.
I have very fond memories of the snow, that may have been tainted by scraping my windshield before heading to high school, and my toes always feeling like they were close to frostbite. But then, when I think about those innocent moments watching the falling snow from the bay window in my living room, and sledding down hills with my brothers, I’m reminded that I have a new idea of winter, and I need to enjoy it in a new way.
I think it’s important to maintain perspective no matter what latitude our homes fall on. Watching my family trudge through winter back home and remembering what that feels like makes it easy for me to remember the things that I’m grateful for, and then to take advantage of the luxuries I have been given living in a place where I don’t have to do that at any time during the year.
I can’t guarantee it will stop me from whining about the heat and humidity come July though. ?