The older I get, the less I seem to be able to tolerate Winter. The early winter storms we have received this year…in the fall, have done nothing to improve the feeling of dread I get as Winter approaches. It wasn’t always that way, of course. As a kid, I can remember being more than ready to go outside when it snowed. Building snowmen and making snow angels always seemed like so much fun. And, if you could get someone to push you on a sled, then you really had a great time. Snowball fights and snow forts are a must for winter fun, and it didn’t matter if you could throw a snowball with any accuracy or not.
I do remember those days…when I associated snow with fun, and somehow managed to forget how cold playing outside in Winter made me. Was I warmer then, somehow…or was it that I had more energy to do more moving back then? I suppose that it could be a bit of both, and no matter what the reason was, I just don’t seem to have that same ability to stay warm any more. Sometimes, I wish I did, because I’m going to be living in Casper, Wyoming, and like it or not, we get Winter here in Wyoming.
There will always be kids, who can’t wait to get out there in the snow, and some of those “kids” will likely be of the adult kind, but there will also always those who, like me, are seriously over the cold. My sister-in-law, Jennifer loves to go skiing, my sister, Allyn’s family love to get out there in the snow, and my sister, Cheryl loves the cold, although not really the snow. They can have it if you ask me, because I am a definite Summer person…ok maybe Spring…but definitely not Winter.
As it says in the Bible, “there is a time to every purpose under Heaven” and I guess that applies to the Winter cold too. There is a time when kids love the cold and the fun they can have there, and then there is a time when these same kids, now adults find themselves feeling totally over the Winter…and it hasn’t even started yet!
As far as my nephew, Tucker is concerned, his big brother is the greatest friend ever. Riley is 11 years old and Tucker is 4 years old. To a little boy of 4, a brother who is all grown up like his big brother Riley…well, he is just the coolest person ever. Tucker and Riley live out in the country, and while Tucker has a couple of friends who live close enough to play sometimes and spend the night together once a week, Riley remains Tuckers closest friend and his hero big brother. And when Riley is staying at a friend’s house, Tucker really misses him a lot. It’s very hard for a little boy to understand why is big brother gets to go do so much, and he has to stay at home a lot more. He just wants to be big…like his brother. Seven years difference in age can make such a big difference in what is allowed and what isn’t.
When Riley is at home, he plays with Tucker quite a bit, so Tucker feels that loneliness a lot when Riley is away. And for a little guy, a weekend can easily seem like forever. I’m sure Tucker wonders why his brother doesn’t stay home with him more, but as we all know, the older a kid gets, the more friends they usually have, and they would much rather hang out with their friends than their little brother. Even if they do like playing with their little brother too.
But, when Riley is home, and it’s a snowy day…well that’s when the fun really begins. The boys get to go out side and do all the things boys really like on a snowy day. They could throw snowballs, or build a fort, or go for a sled ride, or build a snowman. It doesn’t really matter what they are doing, a snowy day is one of the best days for a kid, and for Tucker that kind of day is only made better by being able to spend it with his big brother, Riley.
Time will change things, of course, and Tucker will go to school and have more friends. He won’t always feel so lonely when his brother is playing with his own friends or at work, or college. Still, no matter where they are, or what they are doing, Riley will always be Tucker’s big brother, and…I think his hero too. There is just nothing like an older sibling who has been there for you. And someday, maybe Riley will look at Tucker, and think, “Hey, maybe you’re my hero too!”
As kids, we all thought snow was the coolest thing. We couldn’t wait for it to start so we could go out and play in it…provided it wasn’t a school day. If it was a school day, we all hoped that it would come down so hard that school would be cancelled. Funny how if you were in school and it snowed, you thought it was great fun to have indoor recess, but if school was out, you couldn’t wait to get outside to play. And it didn’t matter if it was early in the day or late at night, snow simply called for playing outside. It called out to you…”Come and build a snowman with me!!”
And once you got the snowman built…if you were blessed with a block full of kids, you were all set for a snowball fight. Of course, the first thing you needed to do is build a fort. You needed a place to hide from the incoming snowballs, because we all know what happens to that poor person who gets caught with out some form of cover. That person is really in a lot of trouble, because very soon, the snowballs are going to start flying, and they will not show mercy. It is nothing personal. It’s just the way the game is played. Survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Of course, it’s even more fun if that poor victim of the attack is your mom or aunt.
There were always so many ways to have fun in the snow when you were a kid. One of the most fun, of course, was throwing someone else in the snowbank…preferably a girl right. And when you get your three grandsons going against your only granddaughter…well, she is going in the snow. Even if she doesn’t want to mess up her hair and makeup, because she is going to the mall. Shai was a good sport when her cousins Chris and Josh, and her brother Caalab threw her in the snow, and rubbed snow in her face.
For kids, snow days are the best part of winter. Hoping for a day off from school to hang out with your friends and cut loose a little. And in my opinion, it’s just as well that we like snow when we are kids, because many of us really don’t later on. Maybe it’s the driving in it, or maybe we just get more thin skinned as we get older. My idea of a good thing to do on a snow day…sitting in front of a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and reading a good book on my Kindle. Oh yeah!! That’s what I’m talking about.
From the time they were little babies, my grandchildren have had Christmas pictures taken together every year. Those photo sessions were often not fun to say the very least. One or more of the kids always seemed to want nothing to do with one or more of the others. The instant the photo session started, so did the fighting and the inevitable headache. You could call it sibling rivalry or cousin rivalry, but whatever you want to call it, it was the pits. Well, last weekend was that time again, and we all expected the same old thing.
For many years, my granddaughter was certain that she would never love her brother. I kept trying to tell her that eventually she would like her brother and even have fun hanging out with him. Still she was certain that there was no way that would ever happen. Now, just a few short years later, they are friends, and I’m so happy to see it. I love watching them playing together. Really, it’s like they are saying, “Here we are, who once were enemies, and who now are friends.” That look that warms a grandmother’s heart. Watching them share a laugh and goof off together…well, it was awesome.
Christopher and Josh didn’t fight in the same way that Shai and Caalab, but I suppose that is just because they were both boys, and two brothers fight differently than brother and sister do. Still, I remember a number of times when Kevin had to get after his boys for fighting too. Each one felt like he needed to take matters into his own hands if his brother got out of line. Now that Chris is working, Josh is starting to miss his brother quite a bit. He is thinking about the fun they have had through the years.
One of the biggest rivalries, however has been between the two youngest boys, Caalab and Josh. They seemed always to be fighting each other for some reason or another. They fought over who got to hang with Christopher. They fought over who was the boss. They fought over toys, games, friends…they probably would have fought over the air if they had thought about it. Now, even that is changing. They get along so much better.
After the traditional Christmas pictures were done, we turned the kids loose to go outside and create a little different Christmas picture, and I have to say that it is those pictures that have been a big surprise. The kids played and laughed, threw snowballs, tossed each other into the snow, chased each other…but they didn’t fight. They who once were enemies, and they who now are friends. My grandchildren, who have made a transition…that first real step into adulthood. I was amazed, pleased, and definitely in awe of the change.
It is a comment most of us have either heard as children or said to our kids or grandkids…or both. “I’m going to throw you in the snowbank!” It was a comment that usually set the child on the receiving end to laughing, and maybe wondering if you would really do it, or if you were just kidding. The funny thing about it is that it was something that seldom really happened, and to be honest, I have often wondered why.
It is such a funny thing to think about…a big guy, usually the dad or grandpa, or uncle as had been the case in this scene, would pick up a kid, carry him out side, and deposit him in the snowbank. The kid comes up sputtering as they wipe the snow off of their face and try to get it out of their clothes, as it melts and runs down their skin causing that shocked feeling that can only happen when cold snow hits warm skin. Their shouts of shock and…well, stunned disbelief at just how cold it was. I think in this case, however Caalab actually liked it, and I know Josh got a big kick out if it.
Most kids love playing in the snow…throwing snowballs and building forts…building snowmen, and yes, being thrown in the snowbank. It is what makes wintertime so much fun for kids, who don’t even seem to notice the cold. They have a built in heating system it seems. I remember those days myself, and I look back now and wonder why the cold didn’t bother me very much. I suppose it all comes down to the amount of fun you are having in the snow, and kids can sure find a lot of ways to do just that.
It is the wonder and pleasure of playing that we seem to lose as adults, that they still have, that makes playing in the snow so fun. My granddaughter, Shai is like that. She loves the snow and wants it to snow every day from October through March. I have started to try to see the snow through her beautiful eyes, and I have learned that whether you are playing in the snow, building a snowman, or just enjoying the peace and quiet of a snowy night, there is a beauty and wonder that is attached to the snow, if you just take a moment to look around and see it. I have often thought about the phrase, “stop and smell the roses”, but maybe we should also stop and look at the snowflakes…at least once in a while.