Patience and Perspective: Thoughts on Surviving a Chicago Winter

Patience and Perspective: Thoughts on Surviving a Chicago Winter

Last week was a trying time for Chicago parents (well, all Chicagoans really). The kids were supposed to be heading back to school and families were planning on getting back to a normal schedule after two weeks of holiday break. And then winter completely messed with that plan.

Many parents were just plain pissed about the snow and cold and the inconvenience they caused for all of us. Other parents were absolutely irate that school was cancelled. Then there were the folks to couldn’t believe that school was NOT cancelled. They were pissed too. Meanwhile, moms complained endlessly about being stuck at home with their kids. For. Another. Day. Parents worried about how this additional missed work time would impact them. Kids complained. Parents complained.

People were just so pissed.

I confess to my own fair share of complaining last week. My kids were home from school on Wednesday. We didn’t have snow day fun because I had several work calls scheduled and I had to keep on keeping on. My eight year-old complained to me that last Wednesday was the most boring day of his life. I complained about his inability to make his own fun with the ten thousand Christmas presents he just received.

My kids went back to school on Thursday. They complained about having to go out in the cold. The morning trip from our garage to the drop off line at school was relatively painless. Then came the nightmare of school pick in snow squalls and gusting winds. Road conditions were terrible. The trip home from school took twice as long as normal. Kids were whining for snacks. I found myself seriously crabby and cursing Chicago winters.

By the time I got home last Thursday night, I realized that I was going to need a major attitude adjustment to make it through this winter intact. So that is what I am focusing on this week.

Yes, the weather sucks. The snow can be a nightmare. That wind chill can really ruin your day. Sometimes kids will go to school. Other times, it may be cancelled. These last minute changes will impact my ability to control my own schedule and get my work done. My kids will all likely be sick this winter and that too will impact our schedule.

But everything is actually just fine. These are all very small, insignificant inconveniences in the larger scheme of things. Everything is okay. A missed day of school (or not) is no big deal. Neither is bad traffic. Or sidewalks that need to be shoveled. These are not real problems. And if we lived elsewhere, we would simply trade these insignificant problems for other problems.

We are healthy. And warm. We have plenty of cold weather gear. We even have sleds and ice skates and other things that can actually make winter fun.

So this week, winter hasn’t got anything on me (at least, that is my plan).




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