Snow and longing

snow and... more snowWhen you think to your life before children, what do you miss most? What memories hold an ethereal quality that is subtle and yet profound? Memories that help to shape your sense of self, or perhaps the joy of a life once lived.

I ask not to provoke discussion on how easy life may have been, or how free we were to most anything we wanted. I ask because I’m interested to know your heart, as it exists deep inside of you. What do you long for now that you took for granted then?  Before the label of mother or father, chief family planner, carpooler, or short-order cook.

This past weekend I was reminded of my own, and then again tonight as I read this post by Denise at Musings de Mommy about Snowflakes and Seconds.

Friday night I went out at dusk on a quick errand. When I returned, the night was charcoal and calm. I stepped into my backyard to find it awash in the bright light that glows off the corner of my garage. I stopped for a moment and noticed the glistening snow flakes as they floated like silent angels from the sky. I let myself be filled with the memory and emotion.

I am a huge lover of snow. There are few things that soothe and still my mind better than a sparkly winter’s night. I guess that’s a good thing for a Canadian.

For a brief moment I remembered and longed for  the endless winter night walks that I enjoyed with my husband before we had little boys to tuck snug into bed so early at night. We would don our warmest hats, mitts, and snow pants and trudge along in our boots, letting the snow fall gently on our noses, talking endlessly about nothing and everything. The dark of the night would cloak us in comfort, and the other’s company would be a balm for a cold winter’s night. We had nothing but each other and time.

I told my husband that I missed it. This time we used to have alone and on a whim whenever a stormy night would present itself. It’s difficult to do that now. The perfect winter night is usually unexpected. And our lives, for now, are filled with the expected.

Image: ‘snow and… more snow‘ via a Creative Commons license.
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30 thoughts on “Snow and longing

  1. Such a beautiful post–I love your use of language, especially the words, “charcoal and calm.” This post evokes one of my favorite memories from the time before I was a parent, a memory of a night in Philadelphia when the snow shut down traffic the city came to a halt. My husband I had a wonderful time walking around the deserted streets in an unhurried way. We rarely have time to do such things now, and our time “off” from parenting (e.g., in the evenings), is both brief and predictable. I do miss those spontaneous times and the lack of responsibility that accompanied them.

    • Christine says:

      Parenting does leave little room for spontaneity. Although sometimes I’m reminded if I lived life more like them, I might find my life could be filled with it.

  2. Kelly says:

    I don’t have any nostalgia for the life I had pre-children. I was young, in grad school, and living with a roommate. My son was 13 months when my now-husband moved in with us. There was no pre-kid relationship. However, I do often long for a time post-kid when I will be able to explore myself as an independent adult who can (finally) do things just because I want to.

  3. Amber says:

    Sleeping in. I loved sleeping in.

    As a Vancouverite, snow has never done it for me. 😉

    • Christine says:

      We spent the Christmas of 2008 with family in Maple Ridge. That was the year that you got all that snow. We travelled there to get away from it. The irony we had a white Christmas there, and a green Christmas here.

  4. Cathy says:

    I love, love, love the quiet of a snowy night. I never went for walks in it, but I sure did shovel a lot of it off the driveway when I was a kid.

    As for time with your hubby, you’ll get it back – but only if you make it a point.

  5. ShannonL says:

    Hubby and I weren’t together all that long before kids, but what I miss was staying up late and sleeping in as long as we wanted. Also impromptu lovemaking. Everything is so planned or must be at a certain time with curious kids around!

    Pre-kids and pre-hubby, I do miss the snow. My best friend and I used to go Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland after just about every snow storm! It was beautiful and so much fun! I also miss music. Turning it on, blasting it and singing whenever I felt like it. Now I only really do that in the car on the way to work!

    I liked this post, Christine. Those memories sound just lovely. You’ll get there again some day!

  6. What a beautiful post, Christine! That last line is a kicker. I love your description of the snow. It’s actually having kids that has made me like it more. I’m not a big fan, but seeing them enjoy it takes me back to childhood. (It’s always good for me to go back there.)

  7. Alita says:

    “The dark of the night would cloak us in comfort, and the other’s company would be a balm for a cold winter’s night. We had nothing but each other and time.”

    This is perfect writing to me. It shows such depth of emotion that it resonated strongly in my thoughts. I do miss the “alone” time with my husband, but a the same time I can’t even begin to imagine my life without the boys. If I am going to be honest, then I would say that I miss the way we could just do spur of the minute activities.

  8. Chantal says:

    Funny the first thing I thought of, before I even read your entire post, was our late night walks. Summer, winter, all season, we often walked at night. DH and I loved those and often I get wistful about them. Funny enough, last year, before D2 was born Kev and I had a night to ourselves. We decided to go on a late night walk (it was summer). We walked for about 2o minutes and then returned home a bit sad that our walk had lost its luster. We were more interested in sleeping since we had no kids to wake us in the morning, than we were walking. I am sure our walks will return in the coming years 🙂

  9. Rudri says:

    I loved waking up on Sunday morning and reading the paper while I had breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I did that.

  10. Leslie says:

    You know, I’ve resisted nostalgia for our pre-Jack life for more than two years – somehow it felt wrong for me to miss the time we had before, because our time now was so full of love. But I’m finally feeling okay about missing those quiet, free moments (even though I can’t really remember what it felt like to have them!) and realizing that it’s time we found more of them. It’s difficult, as you know, as working parents to make yet more time to spend away from the kid/s.

    • Christine says:

      Indeed I do know the feeling you mention. On weekends I long for hours and hours with kids, while at the same time hoping for a just a bit of time to recover and recoup myself.

  11. I think the nicest part of this post is that you told your husband you miss it. I think we fail to communicate truths like that far too often. My husband and I didn’t have much time before kids, so we try to be selfish every once and a while and make couple memories now!

  12. denise says:

    Oh yes…the snow at night. The calm and tranquility of the snow’s blanket, shrouding us in our own snow globe of wonder. Such a lovely piece, Christine.

    As for the pre-kiddo things that I miss. Hmmm. Before I had kids, I had no idea what I’d miss because I had no idea what my life would be like. None. So, do I wish I could send younger self messages, telling me to absorb those moments alone? Or that yes, the children would come, so enjoy the independence and freedom?

    I don’t know.

  13. Jack says:

    I sometimes miss the spontaneous road trip or the chance to explore new restaurants.

  14. Stacia says:

    I tried to imagine my pre-kid married life as I was reading this and couldn’t. Blank. No images at all. Then I got to this line: “We had nothing but each other and time.” Oh. Yes. And it all came flooding back. The spontaneous home repairs, the movies whenever we felt like it, the errands that could go on as long as we needed them to, the browsing (of anything, anywhere). Yes, I remember now. Faintly. =>

  15. What a beautiful post, Christine. I was child-free well into adulthood. Single well into adulthood for that matter. I miss feeling good, young, strong, energetic. And having the freedom to do something with those feelings. Like hop a plane to a tropical island, even on a budget. French speaking, of course. 🙂

    For everything there is a season, right? No regrets.

  16. Belinda says:

    Being spontaneous. We used to love going for a drive at night and ending up in some small town and staying the night. Not so easy to pull off now.

  17. Amber says:

    While I do sometimes miss those days pre-kids, I look forward to the time when the kids will be grown and Ben and I will explore the world.

  18. ck says:

    I think the same thing every time it snows. I miss enjoying the feeling of being bound in the house because of it. Nothing to do all day but be with my husband. Now I get anxious at even the warning of snow.

    One day, Christine, one day we’ll enjoy those walks again (and probably miss the days of the expected).

  19. Elaine says:

    I miss going to the movies. Although your time sounds a WEE bit more romantic… 🙂 It doesn’t snow where I live and now I kind wish it did…

  20. After my husband and I had been married a few years and had a couple of kids, he remarked to me that when he met me, I had this strange, lilting gait to my walk. “You used to BOUNCE everywhere. You don’t anymore,” he said.

    He didn’t say it with regret but it really struck me. He was right! I did, once, bounce my way through life. I was giddy and frivolous and fun and did I mention frivolous?

    Motherhood changed me. It gave me focus and seriousness and depth and even *physically changed the way I move.* All in all, motherhood improved me. But yes, I still sometimes miss that frivolous, bouncy girl I used to be.

  21. I know my husband misses a lot of our “freedoms” (I think he means spontaneity) but–this might sound silly–I don’t miss much from then. I do have fond memories from then! But I also look back and am frustrated by the person I was then and how much time I wasted and all the things I COULD have accomplished or enjoyed. I guess it’s one of those “if I had known then what I know now” things. I mean, why didn’t I have time/motivation to learn to cook until AFTER I had 3 small children distracting me? Why did it take me all day to clean and do laundry when it was only the 2 of us?? Now I’m finished with my weekend chores most Saturdays by noon. Back then it was spend all day or live in a mess.

    I really feel like I’m a much better, more accomplished person now and that a lot of that is due to motherhood. I guess I do miss quiet afternoons by myself with a book a little bit. But after my husband told me how frustrated he was about missing the pre-family days, we’ve made a conscious effort to find ways to bring those things that linger as so great in our minds back into our life. Even if it means a couple frantic hours on my part to make it seem spontaneous to him! 😉

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