By: Grace Cross
Winter is synonymous with death, but I never saw it that way. Perhaps because I was a person who grew up amongst snow for eight plus months of the year, it would be sad that eight plus months of each year of my life resembled that of a morgue. The truth of the matter is, winter to me is not death at all. It is the most important season of the year. Where I am from, if you do not have a cold winter, you have a lot of bugs in the summer. You get a dry spell and the trees do not blossom with their usual vibrancy. To this point, when you look under the snow, many roots are planting, many flowers are beginning to blossom. The earth is deciding what the next year will bring. To me, winter is pause, winter is beginning. It is the most powerful season.
I have a friend in her mid-thirties. She is a great person, but she is worried about getting older. Now that she is in her mid-thirties, she feels her job is to serve her family and then it’s one foot in the grave. Morbid, isn’t it? She also hates winter. Let’s face it folks, your mid-thirties is about beginnings and really finding yourself. You have a lot of life left to live. Also, it’s never about how much time you have but how you spend it.
At a party recently, my beautiful friend’s negative words stung me a bit. I was celebrating the holiday season with friends. We have all known each other since we were fourteen and we have had some amazing adventures. We know each other inside and out. Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us have children, some of us do not. Some have similar jobs and some do not. We are really different people with a combined enjoyment of each other.
So picture it, my dear friend is hosting this party as she hosts most of them as she is the half way point for most of us to travel. We see each other only a couple times a year now. We go to her house and this friend really can decorate. It is your quintessential Christmas house with a modern trendy touch and you could just put this picture of her home in a magazine. In another life, my friend was an interior designer, but in this life, she is a really great teacher.
The friends start pouring in with their partners and kids. The children immediately know the routine and start inventing some game. From babies to kids, they all just have this understanding that they all will like each other.
I paused in the midst of Christmas stories and laughs and memories of yesteryear. I felt like winter. No, not the way my friend describes winter, the way I do.
Here are these people, who saw me grow up. I saw them grow up. We saw each other go through some great times. We have lost family members. We are all friends with each other’s siblings. Now, we have these children, of all different ages, playing together as if the universe has aligned. They generally enjoy each other’s company! The older ones seem to mind the younger ones. The cycle begins again.
In some ways, no matter what this world has to offer them, they have this core group that will always root for them, put them first and celebrate their wins and pull them through their challenges.
They will always be someone’s number one.
My friend’s son reads to me.
He reads now!
I remember he was the first baby of the group. We arrived at a dessert shop as we all nervously met this sweet little boy. We held him. I held him and we were all nervous. How are we going to raise this person, this little ‘being’ of two of my dear friends? We were all promoted to uncles and aunts and suddenly, we had a responsibility more important than ourselves. Our siblings did not have children and so we all just learned to be the best friends and aunts and uncles to this child we could be. Then more babies came. We got into the swing of things. Now its “old hat” as they say.
I look at my friend’s faces who I still see as fourteen years old, navigating through this amazing and terrifying thing we call life. My friend’s son is still reading to me and my other friend has just given birth to the most beautiful little girl who is like the PERFECT baby. My friend insists she has her moments. But in this moment in winter at Christmas, this moment of beauty and simplicity, I will call one of the most cherished moments of my life and it’s no surprise it is in wintertime.
I jump into action, it’s my turn to read.