The Rockwood Files: Mama needs some “spring” in her step

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

This morning I woke up, shuffled downstairs for caffeine and glanced out the kitchen window. What I saw woke me up faster than the Diet Dr. Pepper. It was snow. Let me rephrase that. It was MORE SNOW!

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I said to no one. But if it was a joke, Mother Nature was the only one snickering.

I turned on the small TV in the kitchen to catch a local forecast. The weatherman said the snow flurries wouldn’t accumulate and would, at worst, leave only a dusting on the ground. But the wind chills, he added, would be brutal.

“Ugh,” I said, exasperated at the thought of dressing in layers once again. By the time I get the kids dressed warmly enough to go outside these days, they look like three little Michelin men in varying heights.

Even though we’ve only had 56 official days of winter so far, it feels more like, oh, I don’t know, 56,000 or so? Experts say this is the coldest, snowiest winter on record for most of the country. One day last week, there was snow on the ground in 49 states, with Hawaii being the lone hold-out. (Is it just me, or does a trip to Hawaii sound fabulous right about now?)

It’s not that I have anything against snow. I love snow – the first two or three times it happens. After that, I’m over it. I want to run an errand without wearing a parka. I want to stop driving down slushy streets that re-freeze overnight. I want to see the sun!

Perhaps the worst part about the unusually cold weather and the all-too-frequent snowfall is what it’s doing to my energy level. The gray skies and bitter winds make me gravitate to the sofa across from the fireplace. I spent a few hours lying there last Sunday afternoon, dozing while the kids watched the Winter Olympics.

(By the way, at the time of this writing, it is 24 degrees warmer in Vancouver, Canada than it is here at my house – in the SOUTH. There’s something very wrong about that.)

After I’d been lying there a while, 8-year-old Adam nudged me awake and said, “Mom, are you going to wake up from your nap now?” He was clearly a little irritated with the day’s lazy agenda and he was ready to do something, anything. His impatience gave me the strongest sense of déjà vu. Suddenly I remembered feeling the exact same irritation when I was that age. Why were my parents so tired, I wondered. I didn’t understand why they’d want to spend their day off doing something as boring as reading the big, fat Sunday newspaper and sleeping on the sofa. It was SO boring. I swore I’d never be like that when I was a grown-up.

(Note to all 8-year-olds: Never swear that you won’t ever be like your parents because it’s the quickest way to ensure you will be.)

Reliving that memory was one of those full-circle moments that made me realize I’ve now become the boring grown-up – the one who wants to be left alone long enough to read the newspaper, the one who falls asleep if she’s given a semi-quiet room and a chance to get horizontal. No wonder the kids were miffed.

Perhaps my motivation will increase when the temperatures do. Many of us just need some reassurance that spring will come again. We need to see a tulip poke its pretty head out of the ground. We need a few sunny days in a row and temperatures warmer than those at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The good news is that there are only 33 days to go until the first official day of spring. And when it does, the kids and I are going to shoot hoops on the driveway and plant flowers and eat popsicles on the front steps. And I promise I won’t waste one minute of the summer complaining about the heat.

But until then, I’m nothing more than a sleepy Mama bear, hibernating in her warm, dark cave.rockwoodheadshot2010compressed3.jpg

Wake me when it’s spring.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.