As temperatures plummet to crazy-below-zero back east, I have realized that the only thing worse than living in that climate is having your child living there.
Somehow I didn’t worry much about my son in Boston for the first eight years of winters. It was cold but not this cold, and he lived close to campus. I urged him to get real snow boots and a decent coat, but never, in those eight years, did he ever have classes closed because the weather would freeze your nose off in 1 to 5 minutes.
This winter I have several adorables to worry about in the polar vortex of Boston, New York and Chicago, and it is wearing me down.
Yes, of course I know (as they will regularly remind me) that they are not children any more, but they will always be my babies, including the friends and fiancée.
I am fighting the urge to buy out the cold-weather-gear store and outfit them head to toe like Pierre, the French-Canadian fur trapper.
Then I would have all their groceries delivered (OK, I would outfit the grocery delivery person, too) and perhaps provide them with flamethrowers to melt out a parking place when needed.
I get myself rather worked up, wondering if one or more of them has frozen in a snowdrift on the way to the drugstore, so I break down and give them a call. And no one answers the phone. So now I am slipping into very creative visions of them being frozen in their beds after the heat went out. I text message them with lots of panic-stricken emoticons, which I should have first.
Turns out they are fine and warm and fed and actually enjoying a few unexpected days off. My son, the master of the understatement, did admit it had impacted their general lifestyle a bit and that he would really rather not have to dig out the car to go to work, and parking places when they return. But they are snug enough.
“You don’t really go out in the winter in Boston anyway, Mom,” was his philosophical answer. Which flies in the face of the night last year when they walked six blocks, in a so-named “blizzard” to a friend’s apartment to celebrate something. They insist they are all grown-up but basically, I fall back on that old adage, “Never trust anyone under 45.”
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who can handle 115-degree heat, but gets an earache even thinking about 20-below. Contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.