One day, years ago, when the babies were babies, as I did every weekday, I drove the big kids to school. I had done all the right things; started up the minivan early, scraped off the ice, ran the defrost, but when we got in, the van didn’t feel warm. In fact, the van never seemed to get warm on our drive. On the way home, my fingers burned with cold. The babies cried and screamed in pain. I cried because they cried. Obviously something was wrong with the van, and as I pulled into our driveway, I saw the puddle of antifreeze in front of me.
No antifreeze, no warm.
I had bundled them up, then. They wore fleece sleepers, slippers, hats, coats, and mittens, as they did every cold morning. Even I draped an additional blanket over the babiest of babies.
>Fast-forward to the Present Day<
At least one day a week, they ride the bus to school, because their daddy works early sometimes. So at seven o’clock, I bundle up, and we trudge wearily to the bus stop at the end of the street.
The bus has presented us with nothing but drama since the day we moved here, but I’ll not bother you with that. Just, you should know, every time we wait at the bus stop, we’re not actually sure a bus will stop.
So, on a cold day, I stood there, in my woolen cap, a fleece scarf wrapped about my face, tucked into my barn jacket, with my mitten-clad hands in my pockets. The wind blew, I did the cold weather shuffle, and I prayed to God that a bus, any bus, would stop to pick up my babies.
My babies, WHO ARE TOO COOL FOR COLD WEATHER GEAR!
Mind you, I have had to tell them to put on proper coats, and not jean jackets. Mind you, I’ve suggested a hat. Mind you, I’ve told them to zip up. Mind you, I’ve said, “It’s 11 degrees, feels like 5.”
What did they do? They stood there with their coats unzipped, their hair flapping in the wind, their little blue eyes full of tears. And THEY HUDDLED AGAINST ME for warmth! They asked me for my hat, my scarf, my mittens, my coffee.
This is an ongoing battle.
I realize these children have spent the majority of their childhood in Georgia heat, but I’m constantly yelling, “We don’t live in Georgia anymore!”
Recently, I’ve added, “Zip up your goddamned coat!”
Moo tried to wear a sundress to church last Sunday. With thick cotton tights, and brown riding boots.
Yes, she did realize it was strapless. No, she did not think she’d be cold.
I found her velvet jumper much more acceptable, as did her mamaw.
Sassy tried to take the dog out wearing a tee shirt, shorts, and no shoes. Did her mama tell her to put some clothes on first? Yes, she did. Did she come right back in the house jumping up and down, rubbing her hands together, and announcing, “Oh Em Gee! It’s Freakin Cold outside?” Yes. Yes, she did.
But, she said, “It didn’t look cold outside.”
Yesterday, those babies wanted to play in the snow. I said, “Alright. Now, I’ve been outside three times with the dog today, and you need to zip up your coats, put on your scarves, hats, and mittens. It’s only 23 feels like 19.”
Sassy said, “We know.”
Moo zipped up her coat and put on her mittens.
Sassy went out there in just her coat, not zipped up.
I started the cocoa as soon as she left. Mmmhm. *mumbled all up in that kitchen* mmmhm, tell me. tell me how you know. oh, you know it’s cold, hm? sure ya do. *whisk whisk whisk* gonna tell me it’s not that cold, like you ain’t lived in georgia for the last seven years, not like you lived in antarctica. mmhm, tell. me. pshaw, i done lived here all my life. tell. me. psh.
Sassy came in crying, nose running. “Mama!” she shouted, waving her red hands, “It’s too cold! I can’t feel my hands! I can’t feel them, but they hurt! Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, they hurt! I can’t even get my coat off! Help me!”
I stirred some I Told Ya So into that cocoa, I did. Smothered it in whipped cream and kindness, but it was there.