It snowed here in Connecticut. We were told to expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-3 inches. We got 11.
Naturally, the kids were itching to get outside and play in the powdery stuff and so when my husband went out to snow blow the driveway, the kids went out too.
I stayed inside. Because I value the feeling in my fingers and toes.
After about 15 minutes, our youngest came stomping through the back door, tears streaming down her face.
"I HATE THE SNOW!!!!! It's so cold!" Sniff.
"My fingers hurt!" Sob.
"This is the worst day ever!!!!!!" Sniffle.
I barely had time to get out a "it'll be okay, baby" before she ran upstairs and slammed her door.
Later, after she'd calmed down a bit, she came downstairs.
"It's not fair! Everyone is playing outside and having fun but I don't want to play outside, it's too cold. I don't like the snow. But I can't have any fun either." WAAAAAAAH.
I bit my lower lip and then said, " I don't like the cold either, baby. Sometimes, doing the stuff that makes us happy means that we will be alone. But that's okay."
I remember, one winter, some friends and I loaded in two cars and drove to Red River, New Mexico to go skiing. We rented a cabin and all 8 of us crammed ourselves into bunk beds meant to sleep 5. That's the kind of thing you can do easily when you're 19.
You can sleep on the floor, warmed only by shots of Captain Morgan, unphased by the sounds of wet kisses coming from the bunk next to you and your body will move the next morning without a near-overdose amount of Aleve.
On the first day of skiing everyone hit the big slopes except me because I had never set foot on a ski and having little to no sense of balance, I needed to learn the ropes somehow. We all figured I'd learn the ropes and join the group later that day. I spent 4 hours on the slopes and had about 10 near-death experiences on the chair lift. But after a full morning on the freezing cold slopes, knees cracked and face bleeding from being sliced under the eye by some kid's flying ski pole, I called it quits.
My friends skiied until they dropped and I never saw them until later that evening. I stayed in the cabin alone, reading books and watching the fire crackle. I was lonely and felt completely left out. Everyone came home that night with tales from the slope, laughing at inside jokes and moaning over the bumps and bruises that covered their bodies.
I went to bed angry and feeling lonely. But the next day, over a few shots of moonshine, I realized that as much as I wanted to, I just didn't like to ski. It wasn't fun for me and to get out there and try again meant that I would be living for someone else, to live up to some kind of standard that didn't belong to me.
So while everyone else was skiing the next day, I enjoyed a day on the town, perusing the shops that lined the quaint little streets and stopping to warm up in coffee shops. I met new people and had a wonderful time.
I told this story to my daughter (leaving out the details about the moonshine and sex of course) and while she didn't quite understand, she knew that it was okay that she hates the snow and prefers to bake, that a snowy day for her, is best spent over a bowl of chocolate batter than building a snowman and that's okay.
She went out there and gave it a shot. She tried and decided it wasn't for her. Those are the pains of getting to know ourselves, we sometimes learn that we are in fact, different than we presumed. What sounds like a good idea in theory turns out to be something that's not for us. Maybe we decide that we aren't meant to be married or decide not to have children or choose a job that doesn't make any money but lights our souls on fire every single morning. Those are the hard choices we have to make in order to be true to ourselves.
We do these things walking against the grain, doing in many cases the opposite of what everyone else is doing and we can feel very alone in those choices. Today was a small (yet painful) lesson for Maryn. I hope she learned that it's okay to change her mind, to stop in the middle of traffic, make a u-turn and go the other way, even if it means she feels alone.
Frankly, I'm kind of enjoying that there is someone else that isn't a fan of outdoor activities in freezing, cold weather. It means that I have someone to sit with while I watch the crackling fire. I've waited a long time for someone to join me.