The big news around here this week has been the Polar Vortex. A big bubble of icy air slid down the globe from the arctic, it seems, and sat right down on top of us. For 78 hours, the air temperature was below zero, and for much of it, far below that, plus windchill!
It was so cold, the schools closed. My son had a snow day on Monday, as well, and so he had an extra long weekend. Some children didn't go to school until today, and had had days off last week for both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Day, and for end-of-term grading days for teachers. It was like another winter break.
As such, it was hard for me. I wanted to keep up our school week protocols, with bedtime and instrument practice, screen limits, and all. And I couldn't. My menu planning failed. I felt cold and exhausted and worried about the pipes and the pets...
When these swirling whirlpools slide into our lives, it can be hard to cut ourselves any slack. Finding a new rhythm in the midst of any unexpected event -- health related, grief, weather, car trouble, money issues, shutdowns, strikes, shut-offs... -- can feel well-nigh impossible. How can we get through?
It takes preparation ahead of time, and it takes trust. Ah, trust, you old bugbear of mine!
So, let's look at the Vortex, and how we prepared, and how we adapted.
First, we prepared. We heard on the weather that it would be very cold, following a snowstorm. We laid in stores of food. We bundled up in thicker coats, long underwear, extra socks. We took care of things, like shoveling the driveway, that we knew couldn't wait until the mercury dipped to the bottom of the glass.
And then we let it be. We lay around the house and were cozy, or packed extra warm drinks for those who had to go out. We rode the waves of extra screen time requests and nerf gun battles, and I baked cookies.
And afterwards, now that the temperature is back above zero, and the kids are back at school, and we have to go on?
Now I am resisting the urge to judge myself. I am taking action, washing the dishes, getting the work done, making the next plan.
That's how we do it. We focus on how we survived, we tell the stories to those who were there, and who weren't, and we get onto the next part of life.
It wasn't perfect, but here we are. Still alive. So grateful for heat and home, for socks and cookies, for the tiny drop of patience left at the end of it all.
You have gotten out of so many vortices, so many whirlpools that threatened to pull you under. And perhaps they did, for a time. But look at you! You are here! You did not succumb, though perhaps you wished you could have. Celebrate that. Celebrate you.
The vortex is gone. The winter is still going -- Candlemas is tomorrow, and Groundhog Day, and whether it be fair and bright, or the Groundhog sees his shadow, or not, winter is not done with us here in Minnesota. We will go on, though. We have survived thus far. You will survive the vortex. The whirlpool of this season.
If you would like to find out more ways to find joy in the midst of the whirlwind, warmth in the vortex, and celebration when you thought you'd failed, I'd love to talk with you. Click the link below and schedule your discovery call. xoxo
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I coach waldorf moms and other sparkly unicorns, helping them find wonder, ease, and contentment. I write about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.