Friday, February 8, 2013

Fake it until you make it

Last night I went to bed full of discontent, knowing that when I got up in the morning everything would be the same old grind. Only it wasn't--it seemed worse. An unexpected snow had fallen overnight and not only that, but now the precipitation had turned to ice.

Bah! Humbug! This meant a wrench in my plans to be productive this morning and it meant that I might have to scrap my entire schedule if school was called off--which it was. As those of you with young children know, the phrase, "Mommy's busy, please try to entertain yourself." carries about as much weight with a bored child as Adam Sandler's comedic vision carries with box office critics. I was in a grumpy mood indeed.

When my son awoke to find a fresh coat of snow covering the hill in our neighborhood, his eyes lit up. "Can I go sledding now, like right now?" he asked, eyes full of wonder and delight.

My internal reaction was less than enthusiastic. Sledding first thing in the morning was really low on my list of things to do today, but he was so cute, vibrating with snow-day enthusiasm, I plastered a smile on my face and replied, "Of course, honey, sounds like fun."

Really it didn't sound like fun at all. Sledding means layer upon layer of clothes that will have to be laundered immediately afterward, slushy residue in the foyer that'll require mopping and probably muddy footprints on the carpet because one or both of us will forget to take off our boots before we venture into the living room. Oh and then there's the whole freezing my butt off for at least an hour while he's merrily oblivious to the fact that I might lose the tip of my nose to frostbite.

Grump, grump, grump. My monologue of crankiness continued to churn in my head, but while we dressed for the freezing weather, I remained outwardly cheerful for my son's sake. He pulled on his snow boots, none the wiser.

Advice my father once gave me ran through my head--"Fake it until you make it." It's a phrase I never quite understood because how can faking an emotion make it real? In a time when we're encouraged to share every thought we have on social media sites--the snarkier the better--and leave reviews or feedback about every darn thing, brutal honesty (and I do mean brutal) is in fashion. But not for me. Not today.

We made our way out to the hill which seems smaller now that he's gotten so much bigger. I'm still in no mood for this. Despite two layers of socks and my all-weather boots by feet are already cold. My face stings, ice is still falling from the sky. I pray that he is as cold as I am and will want to go in sooner than later. Blissfully unaware, he flopped his sled into the snow for its maiden voyage, jumped on and flew down the slope at break neck speed.

And then it happened. He squealed and giggled and when he reached the bottom he popped up to ask, "Did you see how fast I was going? Did you see, Mom?"

I broke out in a smile--a genuine one. "Yes, I saw, baby."

Once he trudged up the hill, he said, "This time you have to come with me."

My reluctance to having fun starting to melt, I acquiesced.

Woosh! We slid down the hill. This time, I wasn't only smiling, I was squealing and giggling too.

Up and down, we rode and climbed the hill over and over until we were both Popsicles and both thoroughly out of breath...okay, so I was probably a wee bit more winded than he was.

Then we walked home, stopping for a brief snowball fight and to make snow angels. At this point, I'd forgotten why I was so put out by the snow to begin with. Once inside, we shed our outer layers of clothing and yes--DS forgot to pull off his boots before he bounded into through the living room and into the kitchen, eager to store a snowball in the freezer. I shrugged and figured I'd clean up the footprints later. No harm, no foul.

We ended our perfect morning with hot cocoa by the fire--four peppermint flavored marshmallows each. Head on my shoulder, his hair scented by berry shampoo and the crispness of winter air, he murmured, "I hope we always go sledding together."

A little misty, I replied, "I do too."

And I meant it.


Jess @UsedYorkCity said...

Aww, this was the sweetest story! Thanks for sharing, Cindy! And totally agree, I've used the old "fake it til you make it" countless times in my life...personal, career, trying to get out of a bad mood...and it really does have its benefits!;-)

na said...

Wow, what a great lesson in perspective. Is it dismal snow or woo-hoo snow day! You're very lucky!