The birds have started singing and the temps are slowly rising, but I still don’t think the mountain of snow in the middle of our cul-de-sac will melt till June. February of 2019 was a month for the Minnesota history books: the snowiest February ever. In Minnesota, that is saying a lot. A lot of snow, yes, but also a lot of “let’s just get through this month, this winter…heck, this day!”
Like most moms, I was trying to keep it all together between the snowstorms and the school closings. Thankfully, I work from home so I didn’t have to take sick days. It still made for long days with three antsy kids though. So yes, I had a few moments of “whatever it takes” (even dragging out the forbidden Play-Doh). But one such moment caps them all.
Picture me shoveling a rather long driveway. Now, I actually enjoy shoveling, but it was that wet, heavy snow, and it was taking forever. But what I start project-wise, I just have to finish, so I kept plugging away. Meanwhile, the kids had been playing on the cul-de-sac mountain, but at 6, 4, and 2, they were getting cold and tired and were starting to fight over the sleds. So I came up with what I thought was a great idea to keep them occupied just a little longer. “Hey kids, why don’t you play with these bottles of food coloring gel in the snow? You can mix colors, make designs, and create art while Mommy finishes shoveling. Sound good?” We were all excited about the plan.
Let’s just say it was a shortsighted vision. Sure, I was able to remove the rest of the snow from the driveway. But when we made the move to go back inside, I saw the destruction of color. Not only was the purple, blue, orange, pink, and yellow food coloring all over the snow (my original vision), but it was on their faces, mittens, coats, boots, hands, and snow pants. As I was wrestling them out of their winter gear, I, too, started showing signs of the food coloring virus. Then the colors were trampled inside our house, onto our entry rug, the floor, et cetera, et cetera. And now, as the snow has started to melt, the colors still mark our sidewalk and front steps.
My husband has come to expect things like this from me. When he saw the huge purple-blue stain on our perfectly-suited-to-the-entryway rug, he raised his eyebrows and smiled: “Okaaaay, I see how the day went.” I shrugged and smiled back. It’s funny because I’m kind of a neat freak, but for some reason, these color stains don’t bother me. Instead, they tell me a story:
There once was a mom who needed to get a few things done. So she turned on the cartoons to make dinner, played a sick patient so she could close her eyes, let her bathroom become a playroom so she could shower, gave her children food coloring so she could shovel. It worked out (she made the dinner, got the cat nap, took the shower, shoveled the driveway) but not without a few knocks on the way (one too many cartoons, being poked with a pretend flu shot on her face fourteen times, one thousand toys in an 8×8 foot space, food coloring all over everything and everyone). But she did the task, the kids are fine, the people are fed, she’s showered up, and…the snow is finally melting.
Jennifer is a writer, editor, and lover of words, history, trivia, and British crime shows. She and her husband have three young children, all of whom enjoy a good game of chase, cuddling, reading, and hours of cul-de-sac chalk drawing. You can learn more about Jennifer at www.porcupineedit.com.