Yesterday was the first real snow of the season (yeah, I know it’s not technically winter until the 21st, but white stuff on the ground is reason enough for me to call it winter). I was in the middle of saying the Grace After Meals when I looked up and noticed big, fluffy flakes drifting to the ground. I got my kids’ attention and pointed to the window, and they were rightfully excited.
“Snow! Snow! It’s snowing! It’s winter! It’s December! It’s snoooooooowing! We can have a snowball fight! Hooray!”
That’s a fairly accurate representation of their reaction.
It was a busy day for us, what with trying to set up a Skype date with Bubby, and a new clarinet student due to start, despite the snow (yes, I may be starting to teach again, but on a very, very minimal basis. Like one student minimal). So getting those kids out into the snow was maybe a mid-priority kind of activity. Plus, I had no idea where any of their snow gear was, or if I even had any snow gear for them. I mean, we live in Baltimore, which, coming from Cleveland, I didn’t quite associate with snowy winters, so I hadn’t rushed out to buy boots and pants and all that.
But after the lesson (during which they were happily playing some educational computer games, thankfully), I felt that it would be a shame if I didn’t let them frolic around in the snow. It was the first snow of the year. And really, what else was I doing? Dishes? Laundry? Facebook?
After rummaging around in the attic, it was apparent that we really didn’t have the right gear. No snow pants for anyone. Boots that were too big for one, too small for the other (we didn’t use those, don’t worry, we used another too-big pair), and non-existent for the third. No mittens for the baby. Well, one mitten.
Was it really worth it? The cold and the wet and the struggle to dress the little ones? Wouldn’t there be snow in the future? Couldn’t I do it later, when I had all the things I needed and the conditions were more favorable (like after they have learned to dress themselves)?
Stop. Back Up.
How often do I do this to myself, waiting around for the “perfect” conditions? For all the factors I want to be aligned before I make a move? This attitude has held me back from writing and submitting articles, writing music, performances, chores (yes, that too), my avodas Hashem, in short, life. It’s part of the chronic perfectionism that I constantly battle. Because how often are things exactly how we want them?
There’s a mishnah in Pirkei Avos (the Ethics of Our Fathers- 1:14 if you want the source) where Hillel, one of our great Rabbis asks “If not now, when?” While he may not have meant taking my kids out to play in the snow, it’s totally applicable. We never really know what the future holds, and, not to get totally serious on you here, but we don’t know how long we have in this world. Sometimes we have to push through our procrastination, or our lethargy, or our fatigue. Sometimes we have to just do it now .*
So we did it. We went into the snow. And it was glorious.
This next picture was taken after the baby fell in the snow and discovered that it is both cold and wet. I interpret her look as “Why didn’t you tell me?!!?!”
They wanted to help shovel.
It was totally worth it.
*if you didn’t go out yesterday for whatever reason,
I am judging you, don’t worry. Sometimes the right choice is to stay in, and sometimes I don’t have the energy to go out. Sometimes “if not now, when” applies to resting, too, especially for mommies!