Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

On Winter: Then, Now, and Next


Winter snow pants hang on the door of the coat closet rather than in it. Boots litter the floor along with chunky salt crystals tracked in from the porch. Gloves and hats tumble from an out-of-place box that sits more neatly on a shelf in warmer months.

Dark-too-early days combine with school cancellations and weather that makes playing outside seem plain-old-stupid. Ah, winter.

It’s hard to not get rolled over by the dark days of winter. In summertime, fireflies beckon. 9:00pm feels early.

These post-holiday months though, they’re slick with ice, boredom, and clocks that laugh at us when we glance to see whether it’s time for bed, and it’s only 7:30pm.

Winter Then

It wasn’t many winters ago when I was newly pregnant and not telling anybody. We’d wait until mid-February that year to announce that we were due to have a little boy in July.

sweet dog sniffs pregnant womans belly with special needs son

This winter, that little boy is eight, and there are mornings when I swear he’s taller than he was at bedtime.

It wasn’t many winters ago when I was a young girl in Colorado. There, school was rarely cancelled for snow days.

My mom used to put newspaper bags over our socks, and we’d walk to school wearing Moon Boots. Once there, we’d take off our boots, put them in our cubby along with the newspaper bags that had kept our socks dry.

We’d put on our shoes and then repeat the process for the walk home.

People weren’t worried back then like they are today.

Growing up in Colorado, we always had school unless the snow looked like this.It wasn’t that many winters ago when we had so many snow days in a row that I wrote about what to do during them (snark version).

Another year, three in a row was a lot.

It wasn’t that many winters ago when Chief still looked out for us. Played in the snow. He was so much more than a dog.

It wasn’t that many winters ago my brothers and I learned to ski. We drove up Berthoud Pass with my mom in her 280ZX. Back then, the pass was more narrow than it is today, and it’d have been easy to fly off one of the switchbacks.

It’s still terrifying in the snow.

At one point, she lost control of her car, my youngest brother was crying, I was ready to jump out the door, and my other brother was yelling at my mom to stop being such a show-off in a sports car in the snow.

I can’t believe we made it to Silver Creek.

It’s not Silver Creek any longer, but it’s close to where we spent New Years this year. It still looks the same, this place I learned to ski.

Winter Now

It’s only been a few weeks since I drove to the mountains in Colorado with my husband and son. We drove over Berthoud Pass.

It was slick with ice, and twice, I lost control of my dad’s car.

By the grace of God, and all that.

Seriously, we slid to a stop about two inches from a truck coming the other way. A few miles later, we almost ended up in a snowbank. Which, for anybody that knows Berthoud Pass when it’s icy, is doing pretty well.
Winter now is taking photos of the place my brothers and I learned to ski, but now, with our children. It’s that it looks the same, all these years later.

Winter now is hearing “I’m bored” by 11:00am on snow days. It’s a surprise two-hour delay that meant alarms were turned off, breakfast was had, and snow angels happened on the neighborhood tennis court.

The playground slide was full of snow and super-fast.

A glint in the eye meant I’d have snow up my coat sleeve walking home from the bus stop after hurriedly removing snow pants and exchanging boots for shoes.

“We went sledding before the bus came,” he said.

His friend looked at me.

“We did,” I said.

Later, his tutor mentioned that he’d told him, too.

And so while the dark-too-early days get to me, and I’m ready for bed before bedtime, winter now also means seizing a few minutes before the bus comes to build a snow angel, to see how fast a snow-covered slide is, and to sled in grass that has just enough snow to be slippery.

It’s ignoring the winter clothes in the entryway.

It’s remembering that as much as hearing “I’m bored” hunches my shoulders, hearing laughter before school one day in the snow makes me realize that I need to treasure winter now, as I already miss winter then.

His smile reminds me that winter next will be different, that he’ll be taller, that I’ll be older. But sometimes, like today, when it’s only January? There’s more winter next to be had. Tomorrow.

Winter Next

Winter next is saved for the unknown because future winters are less important today than this winter is.

Because winter next is still this month, and next month, and all of the too-dark days until spring comes for a minute or two.

Until then, I hope to remember to celebrate winter now with my boy-now (because omg he changes daily).
I hope to remember to sled before school when there’s a delay, to not get annoyed by snow up my sleeve by a snowball thrown by him, and to try and cherish the moments as they pass while I also do not throw bowls of dinner at the wall when I hear “I’m bored.”

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. In the new format, which I host with Kenya from Sporadically Yours, each week is a little bit different. Week three of each month (this week), is a stream-of-consciousness post where you write for five minutes (or more) and just post. That’s it.
And yeah, yeah, yeah… I ended up adding some photos because I couldn’t NOT add them, but we promise, you’re free to edit as you’d like but editing is unnecessary.

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  • Kenya G. Johnson - Beautiful snow angel in the asphalt!

    The part you wrote about him being taller from the night before, I wish that was something I’d taken pictures of for a timelaspe. The little head that barely reached the top of the mattress that used to come to wake me up in the morning to the age he stopped doing it. But I can remember one time looking to see if he was standing on something becuase he looked so tall.

    And about your three days in a row once upon a time, this year Christopher has had three full days of school in a row. That’s it. Oh my – and yes to more winter to be had. Maybe not so much here, I don’t know. This winter has already been uncharacteristic for us. We shall see.January 19, 2018 – 7:40 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Perfect snow angel right? And on a tennis court…but still. And wow, maybe I need to start taking more pictures. I take pictures of him all the time but not maybe enough about how tall he is compared to things (or me). Thanks for that idea. It’s warm-ish here now but going to get cold cold again. Like you said, we shall see.January 19, 2018 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi - Oh my gosh, the newspaper bags over our feet! I TOTALLY remember that, except we used plastic grocery bags which showed over the top of the boots and were horribly, horribly embarrassing. And as for your before-school fun, that is the real good stuff of parenting — being able to say yes to something amazing and paradigm-shifting for a kid. Tucker is a lucky boy!January 19, 2018 – 11:02 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to the embarrassment. Me too except that I also was a “walker” and so felt sorry for the bus kids who could wear tennis shoes all the way haha. Aw thanks, I almost said no to sledding before school but then was like “why not?” It’s more about sanity and the moments than being a good parent most of the time for me. 🙂January 19, 2018 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

  • [email protected] - I love winter, but getting a bit of cabin fever today. They said we would get just a couple inches of snow Tuesday night-Wednesday morning. It snowed ALL DAY Wednesday and we ended up with a bout 9 inches. Loving the lazy snow days, but we’ll pay for it in spring when we desperately need a break and don’t get one !:-)January 19, 2018 – 11:10 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’ve gotten the cabin fever a few times since December whatever-it-was when Tucker’s school let out. Trying to work and do all the things is so hard.
      WOWOWOWOWOWOOW to 9 inches where you are! Amazing! That’s so cool but also yes. To paying it back. Here, we only pay it back now when we don’t have snow days. A few years ago (maybe 5????) we had like 11 snow days and so the schools built that many in and now we never use that many but also don’t get out early if we don’t which is just dumb…January 19, 2018 – 10:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I love that phrase, “clocks that laugh” at us…I so remember that feeling when my boys were younger because I wanted them to go to bed so I could go to bed! Now, I go to bed before them sometimes because…teenagers! I’ve discovered that one of the keys to surviving a long, cold, winter (like this one is proving to be) is a good, warm winter coat! My husband got me a new coat for Christmas and it’s so warm — I’m not nearly as cranky now! 🙂January 19, 2018 – 1:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Gah, thanks, Emily. I look at my clocks all the time and feel like they are laughing at me. There’s one in my office that’s been “dead” for years and I still look. The time’s the same (for years) and yet my baby is now almost as tall as I am, and well, that’s the clock laughing, right?
      I can’t imagine going to bed before Tucker but also I can which is again, the clock laughing at me.
      OOOH I love that you got a new coat!!! Maybe that’s what I need… it’s been a while…January 19, 2018 – 10:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I used to love going sledding on the hill in my yard or the barn bank at my friend’s place. All of us lived in the country and so snow days were common. Now my nephew lives in that house I grew up in and goes to school out in the country too. He has had several snow days already this winter.

    I am glad you and your boys made it back from your winter driving adventure safe. Winter driving can be treacherous, that’s for sure.

    This post made me think of that famous old classic line: “back in my day, we used to have to walk miles in the snow just to get to school,” which makes me picture my grandparent’s days of going to a one room schoolhouse.January 19, 2018 – 2:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m not sure exactly why but it makes me very happy that your nephew lives in the house you grew up in and goes to school out in the country. That feels so, I don’t know… good, somehow. I hope that makes sense. As somebody who lives far away from family and travels for tradition, that just feels happy to me.
      LOL to “Back in my day…”
      We used to make fun of my dad for saying how he had to walk so far to school. But in truth he did. He walked a few miles.
      When I was a kid, I probably walked 1/4 of a mile with my newspaper bags and boots, but today? Tucker’s not allowed to walk because the street in front of the school is super-busy… so there’s truth to it, I guess…January 19, 2018 – 10:30 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - I’m happy Tucker still goes down slides. Alex was offended when I took him to the park at five(5). He thought it was too babyish.

    “I’m bored” is a child’s favorite saying and it is suppose to irritate you. You are adulting “The act of attempting to live an adult life while raising a child.” and not the grand entertainer. It is important for all children to be bored so they learn to “Entertain themselves” and this help their autonomy, creativity, and independence. You can appreciate the fact that Tucker is bored and appreciate Tucker without having to pressure yourself.

    Yes, his as all children before him, childhood is fleeting. It is both wonderful and horrifying. Wait until the morning he shows up to breakfast taller than you. I’ve been through that and while I never took a minute for granted, I think it would have been okay to not pressure myself so much. After all, no one will ever appreciate or love our children as we have. Are we setting them up for failure expecting so much love and attention? What happens when our children say, “I’m bored.” and another adult says unkind words in response.

    What happened when you were bored?

    Went to a friend’s house?
    Wrote a story?
    Played a video game?
    Taught yourself something?

    My point is boredom is a bridge to creativity, independence, and autonomy. The answer should be, “Good.” It is an opportunity for emotional growth to match the physical grow you see everyday and a sign Tucker is ready to start becoming creative. Let go of making everything structured and let him start structure his down time.

    I put centers in my classroom every year just so children had constructive creative down time to grow. Perhaps a center (no Zelda in centers) or two with activities to do when Tucker is bored. We always have tons of books to read. Reading is a good activity as is writing a story or even building a model. These are skills but then cut out two hours of time a day just to enjoy the fleeting days of your son’s childhood.

    Boredom is a bridge, IMO.January 19, 2018 – 5:07 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I tell him that Steve Jobs was bored and thought about having 1,000 songs in your pocket and made it happen. I think we’re on the same page for sure, although also, I very much wish I’d had Tucker at a younger age and gave him a sibling or two.
      But yes, I remember being bored. We played, and it was glorious. Thank you for the reminder.January 19, 2018 – 11:35 pmReplyCancel

      • JT Walters - If you had Tucker younger, he wouldn’t be Tucker. And if you had more children, there is no guarantee they’d get along and you’d have more bored children on snow days and less time with Tucker than you do now.

        I have those feelings too but if I am totally honest with myself a second child would not be for Alex but for me. I miss having a baby, toddler, child that grew up and became a brooding teenager.

        Alex wouldn’t want to share me and I seriously doubt Tucker wants to share you. I have those thoughts too but our son’s come first. There are less costly and less time consuming ways to deal with boredom. I use to pull out schematics and circuit boards making Alex put them together. I differed.

        Please be kind to yourself. You are an awesome Mom and the perfect Mom for Tucker. His life is exactly as it should be complaints of boredom and all. You did a good job Momma Bear!!😊January 20, 2018 – 1:01 amReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - This is true, about if I had Tucker younger, and I think about that a lot. I’m thankful for the boy I have, versus the one(s) I may have had if I’d been younger. Still, sometimes, I wish I were younger… I get what you’re saying about Alex and Tucker not wanting the competition… here we are, and YOU please be kind to yourself, too… things will get better. I have to believe that for you. xoJanuary 21, 2018 – 12:45 amReplyCancel

  • Dana - I don’t hear “I’m bored” anymore…there is no more boring when you always have a phone in your hand! Or when a nap in the middle of the day sounds like a fabulous idea. Which it does at 16 or 19, but not at 8.

    Please don’t throw bowls of dinner at the wall. You know you’ll be the one cleaning it up.;)January 19, 2018 – 6:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Truth to the un-bored with a phone in your hand, especially when you have people to talk to. Tux has an iPad and it’s my go-to when I have to work from home, but it’s not the same as human connection. Which is gooooood…..LOL I’d always be the one cleaning it up. Probably.January 19, 2018 – 11:38 pmReplyCancel

  • zoe - Thanks for inviting me back here! It’s funny because I don’t even think of Tucker as a “little boy!” One of your stories made me remember when I was 5 and I stepped off the school bus into a snowbank and my mother had forgotten to come pick me up at the bus stop and I was so stuck in the snow bank that I couldn’t move and I don’t even know how long I stood there ,struggling to free myself , until she finally remembered that I was missing. Yeah parents didn’t worry quite as much back then I don’t think.January 20, 2018 – 9:22 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - SO HAPPY you’re back here, girl. LOL to parents not worrying as much back then. SO TRUE. And yeah, Tucker as a “little boy….” sigh. Eight is still kinda little though, right?? I mean it IS still little. He’s still little in his sweet, sensitive ways. OMG he’s so sensitive and sweet, but also doesn’t know how to be, sometimes.January 21, 2018 – 12:47 amReplyCancel

  • Pat B - I thought I’d already commented here, but I’m not seeing my post, so I don’t know if this is a duplicate or not.

    I loved the way you presented the different winters, and so nice to keep these tucked away in your memory banks.

    The word scenery of your Mom driving on that curvy slippery road is great, and then to follow up with your own experience. . .

    Oh, I can still remember the piles of wet coats and boots by the entry, especially when it wasn’t just your own kids’ winter coats and boots, but the neighbors’ too.January 22, 2018 – 9:49 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I don’t see your comment either so it doesn’t seem to be a duplicate. Thank you for the kind words about winter then and winter recently… LOL to the piles of wet coats and boots by the entry – we’re still dealing with that and have some gloves that I’m not sure who they belong to…January 24, 2018 – 7:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I had a similar moment in upstate NY where we stopped sliding in time for a giant tractor trailer going the other way to miss us. Whew.
    My mom loves winter and I think of cracked skin, viruses, and people sliding on the ice.
    I need to think more about sledding before school and all of the memories my kids are making – with me, even when I feel it’s without me.January 24, 2018 – 10:16 pmReplyCancel

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