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[Quiet Thoughts] Footprints in the Snow

3 years ago

1394 words

Photo: If you look closely, you’ll see foxprints in the snow. He’s always alone when he heads out. This is actually a direction that he rarely takes, so I wonder if he’s getting hungry and seeking new places to find what he needs. I saw his prints in the driveway later, so I know that he made it home. All of us are in need of something this winter.


I got a call from Mom last night as The Husband was putting the boys to bed.

“You remember that old commercial from Southwest airlines? The one with the girl who has to go to a bunch of weddings over the summer? And she is just really gettin’ down on the dance floor at the end?”

“That’s a really old spot, Mom…”

“I know, but it makes me think of your wedding. It was me and the old folk, just watching you kids dancing… and you guys were so drunk by then. And anyway, we had to leave ya’ll, because I told my girl [Bee], ‘we gotta get up out of here before we see some things!’ And we did. We took our old, sore selves home!”

I laughed a great big belly laugh. First good laugh I’d had all week.

“Oh my God! Things happened! We got Facebooked about it later–”

“No! Don’t even tell me! I don’t want to know! That’s why we left!”

And I just kept laughing.

And she laughed.

“That’s why I called. Just wanted to see if I could get you to do that. Mission accomplished!”

It has been a really rough week, dear reader. On the weeks like this, you learn a lot of things about the people in your universe. You learn who really cares and how. I learned a lot this week about those people (and significantly lowered my expectations of others).

Because mom wasn’t the only one who called. Matter of fact, I got a bunch of Facebook messages, emails, texts and calls this week. “Hey, girl, I just… we just feel so bad for you up there.” “Hey, are you still up there in Boston? Can’t even BELIEVE the winter you’re having!” “How are those babies taking all this snow?” “Do you have enough alcohol in your house right now?” “Do you have enough flour? I know you’re baking!”

and so on, and so forth.

Even Father tried. He called me this week. He called me. Just to say hi. He talked about his “business” and crap, which I didn’t care about, but for a fleeting 10 minutes, he just wanted to talk about the crazy winter, and my boys, and how we’re doing.

And thank God for those phone calls and moments of being remembered, because we’ve had a time of it. It has been cold, it has been snowy, it has been cramped, and I’ve been so worried about my husband, who has suffered 4 to 8 hour commutes this week. Going in or coming home, there has always been a train break-down or a system failure or a random cancelled train… and thinking about him out there in the extreme cold has been really rough.

Matter of fact, Wednesday was probably our lowest point. The Husband committed himself to going in early and staying really late because he is so behind on his lab work. “I probably won’t get out of here until 7 or 8,” he told me during the day. I hunkered down, committed to ordering the boys some pizza (I have no more scruples about healthy eating. I just. Can’t. Manage. It.) and surviving the long day. “There is a 7:50 train and an 8:45 train. After that, you’ve gotta wait until 10:45,” I said. And then I prayed he’d make it. That was mid-day.

and it started to snow here. The weather guy said we were only supposed to get a coating. He was wrong. It was more like 3 inches. Which matters, because we don’t have 4-wheel drive and the road crews didn’t really care to come out.

So when I got a call at 7 from The Husband saying that the 7:50 train was cancelled, I told him I was on my way. Meet me at Alewife. We’ll be home before the 8:45 leaves the station.

I warmed the car, put the boys in layers, got them into their seats, turned on the tunes and headed down the driveway.

Onto dark, slick roads. Slippery horrible roads.

I went 3 blocks, found a driveway and turned around to come back. I couldn’t risk the babies. It broke my heart.

“Where are we going? Where is daddy? Are we getting daddy?”

“Baby, no. We’re going back home. The roads are just too slippery for us to go on.”

“But why?”

It’s hard. It’s hard to explain to little boys who are excited to see their Father that I can’t get to him. It’s hard to write an email to your husband saying that the roads are bad and he’s gotta come up with a plan.

And then it’s hard to wait for him. When that 8:45 train ended up being 40 minutes late. And the train didn’t actually make it out this way until 10:30. And then to watch your husband, cold to the bone with a frozen beard, come through the door at 10:45 and simply say, “hi, I’m going to bed.” and storm upstairs.

And then he got up yesterday morning and did it all over again.

He left the house at 7:15. He got to work at 11:30.

He got on the 5:15  train in the afternoon, but didn’t walk through the door until 7:45.

It’s monstrous.

So I made him his favorite dinner last night, timing it well enough (despite the delays) that it was still warm when he got home (because I’m a damn boss in the kitchen). And I kept the boys entertained all day and most of the night. And I cleaned the kitchen so he wouldn’t have to. And I stayed calm and cheerful for the boys.

And all of that is hard. On everyone. The Husband has to commute and work and suffer. I have to do extra duty with the boys (and remember, it’s vacation week, so no school breaks. And no naps, either, because they aren’t using their energy). And the boys are going stir crazy and they missed their father and they have a hard time expressing that positively.

And we’re trying to keep our spirits up because, well, what else can you do? But that takes energy, too.

So to be remembered by someone, somewhere, has been welcome warmth on very cold days. It’s been fun to see the old names and faces (far-flung classmates from high school and undergrad, my mentor professor from Maryland, family members on Father’s side who I don’t always talk to, not to mention everyone from Mom’s side who seem to call every day…). I am reminded of the religious poem Footprints, and that the journey is walked with God and with a supporting cast. It doesn’t matter who takes you up to carry you, but just the knowledge that you are, indeed, being carried during the difficult times. It has been a hard week, but we are profoundly loved, and we feel it.

On this historically cold Friday, I wish you shelter, dear reader. Physical shelter, in a warm place that is comfortable and welcoming, and filled with people and things that you love. Emotional shelter, in that there are many someones out there who love you, deeply, and who are thinking of you even as they, too, suffer through this miserable winter. I even wish you spiritual shelter, however you may choose to take it (God, Gods, Godless… whatever’s your pleasure!), but knowing that you are here for a reason and that you were thoughtfully made. I wish you a big bowl of pasta because carbs are good, no matter what people say! 🙂 I wish you chocolate, good chocolate, melted in milk and topped with a roasted marshmallow (put it under the broiler for about 30 seconds. Seriously. Just like the campfire). I wish you a good book, an oversized blanket, a favorite pillow and quiet. I wish you a moment to be remembered and a moment to remember someone else: tell someone you love them and you care about them this weekend. We’re  all in this together, yes?

Until Monday, take care and stay warm.


6 Replies to “[Quiet Thoughts] Footprints in the Snow”

    1. Thank you for your kindnesses. It was a pretty good weekend. One of those “kick off the dust, let’s get it together!” kind of weekends. And, thank God, our pipes are ok and so is our roof! I am feeling so lucky! Hope you are seeing longer days and feeling a little bit of hopefulness of there. Spring is coming. It has to be. Right?

  1. Oh my gosh, I love this post (not the part that it’s been rough). I’ve been having a rough week myself (health) and it has been tough getting through the days but I have had some wonderful moments of being carried and cared for. Love the image of footprints in the snow and what it stands for. And I want all that you wrote about in that last epic paragraph. And I wish that all for you as well.

    1. How are you feeling now, Mar?? I hope that you are feeling better.I really, really do! It is nice to know that, if you need it, there is support. Sometimes it is small, sometimes it is huge, sometimes it is invisible… but it’s there. That’s how I felt when I was writing this post. I’m learning that I don’t always get what I -want-, but I always seem to get what I -need-, when when I didn’t know it’s what I needed. You know? It’s a wonderful thing.

      Stay strong and warm!

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