Hibernation

By Barbara Matousek

As we crossed the bridge in to town this morning the sun from the southwest had already risen and the sky was that crisp, mystical blue that always comes just before the coldest temperatures of our Minnesota winters. To the southeast a jet heading north left a long white trail behind it, and the angle made it look more like a rocket heading to escape the earth’s atmosphere than a commercial airline flight.

January has almost always involved a little post-holiday letdown mixed with cabin fever and a struggle to return to the routines of real life. But it’s also always held the promise of a new year, a clean slate, a big thaw some time in the future.

Much of January so far has been spent in low light in our pajamas. Hibernating.

And I have been nothing short of a grumpy mama bear who just wants her children to stop whining and do as they’re told and lay still and be quiet and give her some peace. Unfortunately once the baby bears know mama will react when they roll around on top of each other or pull at her fur, they make a game of doing it over and over and over again. And if a mama bear growls when her babies misbehave but she only growls and never follows through with the things she has threatened to do, the babies stop listening and think it’s just another fun game.

Parenting constantly challenges me to relax and be flexible and patient and accept that I have to let go of control on some things but be firm with other things. I never knew how much I liked to be in charge until suddenly I wasn’t. The things we learn about ourselves from our children.

Mama Bear needs to do three things if we’re going to survive the rest of the hibernation season: 1) get some mama bear alone time, and 2) follow through with being a little more firm with those baby bears, and 3) soak up that sunshine, even if it’s 10 below outside.

They say parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever love, but to be honest, when it’s this hard, I don’t love it.

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Barbara Matousek

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