I got my first taste of what "blizzard conditions" really means this past weekend. And really, here in the Cincinnati area, things weren't too bad. The authorities asked everyone to suspend non-essential travel (which means that my hubby still had to go in to work. Apparently surgery residents --along with other healthcare workers, EMTs, police officers, firefighters--- are considered essential) and people basically cooperated, so we didn't have crazy happenings out on the roads. Gruff said that the few vehicles he saw were going slowly, carefully, even through the Cut-In-The-Hill.
So for most of the weekend, I cuddled with my toddler in my warm house, just gazing out at the eddies and drifts of snow piling up like magic around us. We stayed busy with indoor activities - painting, Play-Doh, pretend play with the little wooden kitchen, a VeggieTales movie, lots of books - and I made a big pot of Turkey Chili in the crockpot. When Gruff finally made it home after rounds at the hospital, we savored our steaming bowls of chili and romped around the house before bedtime. After the little guy's bedtime, we ordered up a movie from our cable service and got cozy (me with a heating pad at my back and a rice sock at my feet, Gruff with a big old sweatshirt; aren't we romantic?).
It was a nice, calm, quiet couple of days - punctuated by a little bit of snow shoveling and a few rounds of play in the fluffy white outdoors. But I started thinking: what on earth were people thinking, 220 years ago? The settlers who first came to this area didn't have lovely gas heat, videos On Demand, or crockpots. A blizzard, for them, must have been a serious problem.
Remember when Ma Ingalls had to tie a rope to her waist, so she wouldn't get lost between the house and the barn during a blizzard? That was in my mind this weekend, too. How scary it must have been for pioneer mothers throughout the Midwest -- back when this was the frontier, this was as far west as any quote-unquote civilized Easterners had ever tried to live. And yet, they kept going, winter after winter - watching their babies grow up, teaching them the solid values that continue to be a hallmark of this part of our country. I'm sure it wasn't as easy for them to stay in touch with their friends - no Blogger to click to, no cellphone to dial - but I'm sure that their sisterhood helped them through those snowy, isolating months.
I'm thankful, this Monday morning, that our blizzard is over. I'm also thankful that so many Midwestern Mothers throughout the generations have found each other, for laughter, for advice, for support, for friendship. I'm thankful for you.