Remember that expression “March comes in like a lion but goes out like a lamb”? Every first grade class in history has done an art project with this theme, usually with heavy emphasis on cotton balls.
Well, it’s almost March. It looks like it’s going to come in like a lion, all right. This is just about the time of year that I get really, really tired of winter. It’s a bit too early for spring fever to set in but not for the general dissatisfaction with winter and all its accompaniments to hit full force.
Usually, the feelings start around the end of January, around the time that I’m loading up a backseat full of winter clothes to take to the dry cleaner for a mid-winter bath. As I stare down at an armload of wool sweaters and pants, I think, “I am so lucky to have such nice warm clothes.” Then, “God, I’m so sick of wearing them.”
You see, like any other woman my age who loves nice things but can’t afford to be too profligate with her money, I love to find a beautiful cashmere sweater on a deep-discount sale rack. Cashmere is so soft and warm and delicious that I just can’t shut my eyes and walk away, especially if it’s actually in my price range. But it’s much higher maintenance than that trusty cotton cable-knit sweater from the Gap. So I snatch up the bargain and promise that I will always wear a thin shirt or camisole underneath it, to stretch out the number of wearings I can get out of it. You know, save the environment (er, sort of) and save money (definitely). And in the glow of such a great bargain, I think, “I love this so much! I could wear it every single day and never get tired of it!”
You see where I’m going, don’t you? Sure enough, the Super Bowl rolls around, and it’s been cold and dark and damp for months. I feel a mild case of Seasonal Affectation Disorder (SAD) settling around my shoulders. I get tired, so tired, of eating boring winter food that’s heavy on the flavorless vegetables and long for a ripe tomato from my fledgling backyard garden. And despite the fact that I am one of the lucky people–the very lucky ones with a roof over her head, healthy foods to eat, nice clothes to wear–I start to develop a distaste for all the things that seemed so cozy and wonderful just a few short months ago. I want to be able to put all those dry-cleaned clothes away in the back of the closet. I don’t want to have to wear them again for a good long time. I just need spring to come already.
After the disaffectation arrives, denial is usually not far behind. Around the beginning of March, that’s when I start thinking, “Oh, it’s not that cold outside! I don’t need my heavy coat and scarf! This lightweight trench coat will do just fine!” That’s usually when a snowstorm hits, of course.
The worst part of The End of Winter is being cooped up inside the house for long stretches of time. This is compounded by the fact that I have an active son who is nearly three years old. I may say that I have cabin fever and just need to get out of the house, but for him, it’s literally true. When it’s nasty outside, he’s limited to running very small laps around the first floor of our house. Sure, it might be fun for a little while for him to make a game out of dodging those boxes of Christmas decorations that I haven’t gotten around to putting in the garage. But it’s not the same as running around a playground or riding his tricycle up and down the sidewalk. So when this time of year arrives, I feel almost desperate for some nice weather so we can get both go outside and let him run off some of his shockingly high levels of energy.
(And yes, before you ask: we have managed to wear ourselves out at every museum and play area in the region, too. But those activities require 1) wrestling your child into a heavy coat, 2) stuffing your child, who now resembles Randy from “A Christmas Story” into a carseat with straps that are suddenly too tight, 3) driving, and 4) marshalling a specialized set of skills that mothers of active boys have had to develop to wrangle their children in public. So that’s all fine and dandy, but what we–I—really need is some nice weather so I just can open the back door, push my son outside into the yard and then collapse in a lawn chair.)
I know, spring is coming. It always does. It’ll be here soon. After all, spring training has already started. Pretty soon, I’l have baseball to watch. We’ll be able to toss the cover off the grill and cook up some hot dogs. I’ll have to stock up on fresh sunscreen and bug spray again. The ground will thaw and I can plant tomatoes and basil.
It can’t come soon enough.