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A Snowy Driveway and a Clear Mind

Give me a snowy driveway and a shovel and I am happy. Slaphappy, you say? No, I’m not any crazier than most of the population…at least I don’t think so. I imagine that if I am, then I will probably be the last to know.

Anyway, I like to shovel snow. Oh, I sometimes complain about it, especially when it needs to be done at the most inopportune times (which it often does) or when the temps are ridiculously cold. I definitely do not like shoveling quite as much when I can feel my eyeballs freezing in their sockets and my fingers turtling up in my gloves, as if they were actually mittens with extra pieces. However, once I am out there clearing the drive I start to feel an odd kind of peace.

For one thing, I find that shoveling snow makes me feel healthy, whether or not I actually am at the time. Perhaps it is the cold brisk air or the silence around me as the snowflakes drift down and I clear them aside. It also might be that I can feel my inner pioneer woman somewhere deep down there shoring up my strength so that I can clear a path for the wagon…er car.. to get down the driveway and to the market…or the mall. Whatever it is, it is a good feeling: one of strength and accomplishment. And before I start receiving an avalanche of unsolicited invitations…this pioneer woman would totally feel like she robbed someone else of their experience if she were to shovel someone else’s driveway…unless, of course, it were an emergency.

I suppose that accomplishment is another part of shoveling that I find pleasant. I can see the progress that I am making as I work my way down the drive. I can immediately see my efforts paying off, which is something that, as a mother, I am not always able to see right away…or sometimes even at all. I cannot always tell if the lessons I am trying to teach the kids are getting through or if the methods I am using are the right ones, but I can see the snow disappearing and the driveway reappearing as I labor in the cold. There is definitely something satisfying about that. That and the feeling of exhaustion after the fact…not the mental exhaustion that hits me after a day of the kids going at each other’s throats like cage fighters, but the physical exhaustion that leads to a good night’s sleep.

Why am I not making my kids shovel the drive? I have been asked this at times. Is it selfish of me to rob them of this character building chore? Perhaps, but I see shoveling as a form of me time and exercise. Besides, I have delegated to them another character building chore: cleaning the backyard after the dogs go out. This is one I don’t mind giving up…for the good of their characters, of course.

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