How I Learned to Love Winter

How I Learned to Love Winter

Walking my dog Rocket Sunday night as the snow softly fell in our neighborhood, I thought to myself: I love everything about this. The quiet, the beauty, even the bracing cold. The way the moon and stars sparkle in the dry air. The satisfying muffled crunch of snow under my boots and the solitary footprints (and paw prints) we left in the fresh snow.

Appreciating winter is new for me. I used to count the days until spring, until everything in our Bergen County, New Jersey neighborhood turned green again and our lawns peeked out from the melting snow and lost their brownish hue. At work in New York City, I used to dart from my car to a building, to another building, and back to my car, while trying to spend as little time outside in the sub-freezing air as possible.

Working outside on a news story in winter was painful. My feet were never warm enough and my fingers hurt when I thawed them out under the van heaters after a live shot. I shivered under the stylish— but poorly-insulated— coat I was wearing and caught a chill that I couldn’t shake, even after hours of being home in my toasty kitchen.

But my main complaint about winter was never its barren appearance or its physical discomfort. It was the severe winter weather that always threatened my plans. I obsessively checked the Storm Team 4 forecast, wondering if my daughter’s school play would be postponed, or if our flight to Miami (where we could escape!) would be cancelled, or if we needed to change our RSVP to that party in Lower Manhattan.

This weather anxiety reached its apex with the potential for a snow day for my three young children. It drove me crazy. Not knowing if they would be attending school until that automated call came in at 6 am. Wondering who would take care of them, when I had to go to work (Storm Coverage), and my husband still had to go to the office, and our babysitter couldn’t get out of her driveway. The snow day was my children’s dream come true, but it spawned a logistical tornado. I threw their snow gear in the car, dropped them at Grandma’s house still in their pajamas, and hoped that my husband’s office closed early.

But this winter, everything changed. I don’t have plans to cancel anymore. No school plays, no flights, no parties. My husband works from home now. When my kids got a snow day this week, I was just as happy as they were. My only task before I left for work to meet the live truck was to lay out their snowpants and boots and promise to be home for dinner.

Embracing and accepting winter also inspired me to do some actual research and invest in warmer layers that I wish I had bought decades ago. I visited our local ski shop and bought gloves that work. I don’t bother wearing the trendy coat anymore. I rented skis for my children and me and picked up an old hobby. Our weekends used to be packed with sports games, dance rehearsals, birthday parties, and bar mitzvahs. Now the calendar is wide open so we can sled, or ski, or go for walks in the snow for as long as we like and I still have time to make my kids hot chocolate when we get home.

I do miss my busy social calendar. But for this one winter, I am learning to embrace the unpredictable and to savor the snow days. I’m training my Type-A brain to be impulsive, to approach a snowy weekend without any plans and wait to see what unfolds. I am still looking forward to Spring, but I wouldn’t mind another snow storm or two before it arrives.