Why Winter is Terrible and Long

Well, winter finally got physical in its quest to get me to hate it: I broke my leg falling through a snow drift in January.

Oh, winter. Where did we go wrong?

Some of my favorite times as a child involved dressing in as many clothes as I could and heading out into snow drifts taller than me, tunneling through them, building snow people, and throwing snow balls at my sister and brother and cousins. We’d stay out until we were soaking wet and ice cold, then go into the house for hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, our socks steaming in the heat.

Snow meant the possibility of no school, and therefore, more playtime. Snow meant giggling and, as we got older, excuses to be outside to “shovel” with the adults. It meant things could be cosy, and isolated, with just my favorite people tucked up with me in our house. It might also mean another reading of The Long Winter, a reminder that we were safe and warm and had plenty to eat.

As I grew older, and learned to drive, I grew less fond of snow and ice. Adults, I discovered, can’t always use the snow as an excused to stay home and play. Adults have to learn how to drive on icy roads and keep themselves and their passengers safe. More than once, I drove home from a meeting in the dark on ice-covered roads with almost-bald tires, praying fervently under my breath (and sometimes shouting) to keep my car on the road. As a reporter, I often ended up out in weather that I didn’t want to be in, just  to keep other people posted on what was actually happening.

One of my favorite post-reporter moments was watching the news in Milwaukee during a major snow event, laughing at the shivering reporter doing a live stand-up in the snow storm at a location across the street from my downtown apartment building. I toasted the reporter, snuggled down under an afghan, and sipped my hot chocolate.

One of my joys in being a parent of a toddler and a preschooler is reclaiming playtime in the snow. And on that day in January, we were all bundled up outside. I taught them how to make snow angels, and we were moving on to snow people when the snow drift claimed my leg. Literally. I planted my right foot for stability and tried to move. My knee went the other direction when the snow wouldn’t give my foot up.

Ouch.

So now, I can’t drive at all. Silver lining, maybe? I have a fractured right tibia in an oddly placed spot and position.

Snow, I forgive you. Next winter, we’ll build snow people with the preschoolers.

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