The blogging triumvirate of No Apologies Parenting – Anna, Nonie, and I – started this blog with an eye on how parenting might differ across cultures. I dedicate my future Friday posts to this search.
While looking at pictures of Anna vacationing somewhere tropical, I thought about how far removed her beach-faring was from my day-to-day here in Seattle. I take back all the times I have suggested that parenting is more or less the same wherever you are. It just isn’t so.
While Hawaiian parents teach their kids how to swim in the warm currents of the Pacific, I am deciding whether I really want to go to an indoor swim. My hair might form icicles on the walk between the pool and my car. Yes, I exaggerate, but that’s because after a couple of months of constant grey skies I am moody and prone to excessively dramatic statements. Ask my husband.
Walks outside are an epic adventure. The first two hours are devoted to getting dressed. The first layer: a breathable under-layer. Layer two: a warmth-builder. Layer three: a water-resistant barrier. Hats, scarves, socks, leg warmers, gloves, shoes. This should only take twenty minutes but my two kids choreograph the removal of several items perfectly so that I never quite get either of them dressed.
Walking to the car is another lesson in patience. If it’s raining then we make a mad dash. By time I am 3/4 of the way to the parking lot, then I realize I forget either the snack, someone’s doll, or my coat. Parents do not need to run marathons because we are constantly doing a Re-pack-it Relay that tacks up the miles. Did I mention that on the walk back my son stomps in a puddle soaking his pants?
It’s more likely that I’ve chosen an indoor activity to busy us during the rainy months. So have most other Pacific NW parents. They bring their kids and many of their kids bring their snotty noses. A parent chats on her phone while her kid sits there with a glob of mucous on his face.
I get the heebie-jeebies first and then a cold a couple days later. I cancel my play dates so I’m not that parent that shares all my cool new bugs with their families. I also avoid going to places where people congregate for a while. It’s not seasonal depression, it’s seasonal germ-overload. I have had no less than four colds this fall, and one of those colds stuck around for a month.
It’s not all bad, it really isn’t. I love seasons – the marks of our changing world. At some point on a September evening, I will smell and feel a sudden crispness in the air that wasn’t there the night before. Leaves will fall. Days will grow short. And then Winter Solstice comes. Crocuses pop up barely a month later. Plenty of rain at some point turns into the most amazing summer ever. We even start complaining about it being too hot.
My husband and I know that living near the water is a must for us – not a river, or a lake, but a full-on moving body of water with a current and wild sea life and cargo ships. I appreciate the red rocks of Sedona and the cacti in Phoenix, but the gentle sea breeze and frigid Puget Sound are home to me. We take our kids down to the beach at sunset and look at the horizon…and get them to guess what is at the edge of it.
How does your corner of the world affect your parenting?