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Looking for great in the Great Outdoors

Confession: Sometimes I think I’d be OK with not going outdoors in the winter.

Give me enough books, movies and, of course, fun treats and I’d channel my inner Maine black bear and snuggle in.

Wake me when it’s spring. Well, alright, mud season.

 

 

 

Once upon a time, when the babes were smaller, outdoors was a fact of daily life no matter the season. We used to take walks religiously. And swing on swings. Or slide in the snow. Together.

Not as much now that they don’t need my help to do all that.

Somehow, to my dismay, I’ve become an indoor mom. A mom that sits on the sidelines. That takes my kids to the lake and watches them swim instead of jumping in the water with them. Eek.

I don’t want to be one of those moms.

Soo, full of resolve this school vacation week, I determined to turn over a new leaf. Here’s what I learned in the process.

 

Don’t try to change what’s past.

I snuck out that first sunny Monday morning and (with my husband’s help) ripped our snowblower to life. The kids wanted to play in their snowed-in clubhouse? I’d make that happen! Forget lingering over a second cup of coffee. That kind of vacationing was for the old me.

Turns out there was a good reason my husband was hesitant to tackle this task: pushing that hulk of a snow blower uphill to their clubhouse? Tough. And snow blowing 3 feet of aged snow? It’s even harder. Check that. Make that almost impossible.

Maybe Bob the Builder could do it. Or the Paw Patrol. But me? Sometimes, it’s better to let the past stay in the past. And this includes past snowfall.

Never give up.

After that valiant effort fizzled, I pushed my mad snowblowing skillz around to the snowmobile, also buried in a pile of slightly fresher powder we’d been handed the week before.

The big bonus here: level ground.

I wrestled and wrangled and thought evil thoughts about winter.

Wait. No. Outdoor moms didn’t do that.

They gloried in the crisp air and layers upon layers of clothing. Outdoor moms ran snowblowers and zoomed through school vacation with their kids on snowmobiles. An outdoor mom could make this happen.

As the snow blower wheels spun, a pair of half-size Muck boots appeared in my periphery. And then a second-grade grin. I turned further and saw my husband collecting video evidence for fam in SoCal.

That was all the fuel I needed.

Powered a burst by irritation and a kid-size toothy grin, the snow blower and I made magic happen.

My new motto: the undoable happens when you refuse to give up.

 

It’s not about all about me.

My solo victory lap on the sled was sweet (but cold on the face) when I chugged around the lake. This is what happens when you don’t give up. This is what happens when you work hard. I’d shown them that, I thought.

But all that fabulousness took a sour turn when I headed back into the yard — the pristine yard, unbroken by any trails, completely covered by more than two feet of powdery fluff.

I panicked.

Should I park the sled in the same snowy hole we’d just dug it out of? What spot was any better? Thinking on my feet had never my strong point.

The short version of this story is: the sled ended up stuck. Again.

My husband, ever the optimist, took one look and declared it wasn’t coming out til spring. The kids were more pragmatic: “Dad got it stuck last year. You got it stuck this year.”

Well, Brad was wrong.

We got un-stuck before spring. But it took BOTH of us. We worked off and on all day long. It also took pretty much every ounce of good will we had left.

The good news?

The kids got their sled ride. Brad took them. I’ve sworn off all snowmobile driving.

The kids also got to their clubhouse. While we were digging, (And digging. And pulling.) they dug out their snowshoes and clomped to the clubhouse. I don’t when they’ve had so much fun.

I’m willing to concede.

The outdoors may have won this round.

But I’m not giving in yet.

I may give up on being a big show off, though. That didn’t exactly work out.

I may give up on creating huge, Herculean magic for my kids.

(Or maybe not. That’s a mom’s prerogative.)

I may try to focus more on just ordinary, everyday magic for my family instead.

 

Outdoors, 1. Me, 0.

Don’t worry, Outdoors. You haven’t heard the last from us.

When was the last time you tried to make a big change?

 

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