It's no secret that I HATE being cold. Sure, the first big cold front of the year is exciting and novel and then I love getting out my cozy coat, making stew and banana bread for dinner, building a fire, and snuggling down into the couch with warm blankets and a mug of hot chocolate. But two or three "arctic blasts" later you are more likely to find me holed up in my house wearing my bathrobe and slippers over my clothes muttering about this "Damn cold weather. People aren't meant to live like this. If we were we'd all have fur. I freaking hate this stupid weather..." etc.
We had a pretty cold winter in the old town, but I am starting to realize that my understanding of cold weather there was analogous to the understanding a sixteen year old babysitter has of parenting. Sure you enjoy it and you might even be good at it, but in the end, when it gets tough, you can LEAVE. I'm starting to realize that my fond memories of childhood winters, playing in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, watching movies snuggled up as a family, were fond memories of CHILDHOOD and not fond memories of FREEZING MY ASS OFF IN THE SNOW. For example, I rarely look back fondly on the time I went out to the car to get my last dry pair of slippers (the other ones being wet after stepping in the puddle of water in the foyer left by our thawing mittens and boots) only to slip on the way back in and drop them into a slushy puddle. I was probably ten when that happened and I still remember the acute feeling of despair.
So it is only now, facing of a week of temperatures in the thirties, that I can let go of the "What might have been" fantasies I have held onto since we decided to move to South instead of Boston. The picture I have in my mind of living in Boston has no grounding in reality. We were going to live in the city. In my head it was going to be wonderful. We would take the boys sledding in the park! We would have cozy snow days inside with movies and blanket forts and baking! I pictured the warmly lit storefronts and windows around Cambridge (where we would live) and how much like a Christmas card it all seemed. I imagined the Boston described by my grandparents, who were living there when they met one another.
I did not anticipate having a toddler who NEEDS to run around outside every day. I did not think about the herculean effort required to get two squirmy boys into snowsuits and then down multiple flights of stairs into a stroller or the freezing walk to the store every single time we needed something. I pushed to the back of my mind my dad's warnings of weeks upon weeks of freezing cold rain, which would be even worse than snow. Somehow, I also forgot how cold and angry I always got waiting for the bus in the commuter parking lot at school. Or the time I thought I could hack a half-mile walk from my office to one of my classes in twenty degree weather with thirty mph wind. I could not. The friend I was walking with, who was from New Hampshire, walked casually, no hat, hands at his sides, keeping up his end of the conversation. I pulled my hood on over my hat, smushed my mitten-clad hands into my pockets, and tried to pull my head into my coat like a turtle. Talking was completely out of the question given I couldn't feel my face. Yes, I realize how ridiculous this makes me sound to my friends from Wisconsin and Minnesota and Michigan.
Which is exactly my point. I am not cut out for living in cold weather. South is the right place for us. It will be in the thirties this week, but next week it could be in the seventies! Our pool is open year round and I will never have to deal with snot frozen to a size 2T parka! Today we will cuddle up on the couch, tomorrow we will ride bikes in the culdesac! We don't need to rally a team of sled dogs should we need to run out for infant Tylenol at two o'clock in the morning!
Of course we are going to visit New England this summer and I am sure once I step out of the airport upon our arrival home I will be cursing summer and bemoaning the fact that we live in a place where they announce the number of consecutive hundred degree days on the evening news.