Subzero temperatures, wind chill, Snow, freezing rain, snow Boots, salt, sand, slush.
Dirty mud room floors, sweaty long underwear, wet socks, blow outs ruined by toques.
It all sounds very appealing, doesn’t it?
I can’t hack it, I admit it. Despite being a Canadian, I’m not cut out for our winter weather and all the mess that comes along with it. I get a chill in my bones that makes it hard to move my body when the Celsius hits below zero, a wind gush sends tears streaming down my cheeks when I walk my daughter to school, a weakness flows through my knees and my legs when driving in precarious icy conditions. Fear is likely what I’m pushing back as I grip the steering wheel so hard, my knuckles are white.
Sure, some people relish a winter wonderland. Ideal ski conditions, optimal snowshoeing weather, toboggan runs down the hill, frozen canals for skating. Growing up, I always envisioned myself enjoying the great outdoors all year long and I know I did as a child. I had yet to experience Caribbean sand between my toes instead of them being frozen together at the end of January or South African sun on my face in the middle of December opposed to a cold, wicked wind. Once that happened, I was hooked. Addicted you could say because I simply cannot face an entire winter at home. The thought of not boarding a plane with my family in the dead middle of winter makes me depressed. I’d rather not be depressed, call this my therapy, sun therapy.
Turks and Caicos, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida, St. Maarten, Jamaica, the passport stamps and upcoming travel itineraries make my kids look like seasoned world travelers. They have yet to make it to Europe or Africa, that is to come. While these travels started as something purely selfish on my part as a young adult, as I have gotten older they have morphed into the gift that my kids have been given – of becoming global citizens, of visiting other cultures, of meeting other people, speaking and listening to different languages. The innate language of children is play and to see play happen is a beautiful thing, especially at 35 degrees Celsius! In my eyes, that is better than any classroom exercise that they could get in those one or two weeks they are missing from school.
It’s not always all inclusive resorts with swim up bars in my world, “off the beaten path” is my mantra. I feel it is good for my children to experience waking up and looking out at the fishing marina, to stand on the boardwalk and learn from other little people their age what types of fish are in those waters, to not get frostbite on their chin.
I don’t really buy my kids toys anymore, books yes, but not toys. I feel my money is better spent on an experience (a self-serving, warm experience), hopefully one that they will remember forever and if not, I have the photo proof, a freckled nose and a tan line.