Daylight hadn’t reached our backyard. But a blanket of untouched snow—the first snowfall of the year—couldn’t wait for the break of day. By 7:30AM—the time we would usually be getting out of bed—our kids were all ready for school. They were layered up in snow gear and were outside rolling giant snowballs. Ian and I watched them out the french doors of our bedroom and couldn’t resist calling it an unofficial snow day. The cheers came one after another from outside as brothers told sisters and sisters told brothers, “No school!”. They were excited but I was left feeling indifferent due to my love/hate relationship with snow.
I didn’t always hate the snow. Even now, hate feels a little dramatic but what is life without a little dramatic flair. Still, I certainly don’t love it like I used to. Snow isn’t common in our little southwestern corner of Canada—unless you’re up on the mountains—and I am thankful for that. Since it is rare, I always looked forward to a cold snap that brought a snowfall worthy of getting outside, adorned in the right gear to build snowmen and throw snowballs. But people change—circumstances change.
The first winter we spent in our home, I desperately wanted it to snow. The thought of waking up to our big yard blanketed in untouched snow with an open invitation to come destroy its pristine beauty in the name of playtime almost made me giddy. To run around with the kids, go sledding and otherwise immerse ourselves in the fleeting moments of winter seemed like the stuff memories were made of. But it didn’t snow. Winter came and went and the grass stayed green. And then I was injured.
The next winter—and every winter since—we have had a huge snowfall. Snowfalls that blanket our big back yard in pristine white. Snowfalls worthy of getting outside, adorned in the right gear to build snowmen and throw snowballs. But I don’t run around with the kids and I don’t go sledding. OK I went sledding once but it was not easily executed.
The first year was the worst. I hated the snow and was very bitter. I felt like the snow was taunting me as it ever so uncharacteristically lasted for weeks and took aim at my already fragile ability to get around the world on wheels. Think snowy sidewalks and ramps or, even better, clear ramps with unshoveled access to them. I was largely housebound unless accompanied by my husband and I felt the independence I worked towards slip quickly away. Because of snow. But worst of all, from inside the house, I had to watch my husband and kids do all of the things I dreamed about.
My attitude has gotten progressively better with every passing year and every passing snowfall. The love is returning to my love/hate relationship with snow. Like all things lost, you learn to cope and find peace within the things you cannot change. This year was the first time my children’s school was careful in their execution of snow clearing for wheelchair access. They even checked with me to make sure it was done well—which made my life and independence that much better. Even the gym parking lot and ramp were completely clear this year which meant zero excuses to skip a workout.
I may not run around with my kids in the snow, but I do try to go out at least once a snowfall. Thanks to my husband who will piggyback a girl outside so she can sit in the snow and build mini snowmen while being immersed in the moment instead of being a spectator yet again. And like any westcoast snowfall, I know it won’t last forever. I am resolved to see the beauty in it while it’s here. I have enjoyed the days of cancelled soccer and what has felt like an extended Christmas vacation, but will be happy to see the grass and have life return to our westcoast normal.