It was a bit cold — in the low 20s — tonight when Micah and I picked the boys up from being babysat at our friends’ house. Our friends don’t live particularly close to us, and there isn’t a really good way to get there from our place. It’s two buses or two trains and a decent walk no matter which route you take. Micah was wearing Oliver in the bjorn, with his coat zipped up around him, and I was carrying Simon. We walked to the bus stop, looked at the time table and realized we’d have to wait at least 45 minutes for the next bus, so we decided to keep walking to the closest train station. It snowed a little bit last night, nothing too bad, and the sidewalks were pretty clear. At times we walked into gusts of wind, but they were always short-lived. Simon kept telling us he was hungry and asking for food, despite having eaten quite a bit before we left and having polished off a bag of goldfish cracker crumbs (I don’t blame him for confusing “hungry” with “tired” — I still do it all the time). We turned a corner and started walking up a small hill, and I looked over at Oliver. His nose was red and his drool was bubbling out of his mouth. I felt bad that he must be so cold and we still had a few blocks to walk before we got to the station. And then the thought, “At least you’re not walking across the Plains,” popped into my head.
I’ve heard of the ways people suffered as they crossed the Plains, of the cold and the scarcity of food. And it is true that at times I think I’m pretty hardcore, wearing my kids all over the place, carrying who knows how many pounds of laundry on my back in the rain and wind and snow. Sometimes I think we’re relatively tough because we don’t have a car and we do a lot of walking in all kinds of weather. But I always know that I’m not more than a few minutes away from warmth and food. I can tell my 2-year-old that he’ll just have to wait until we get off the train and then we’ll have dinner. And I don’t go to bed at night hoping my baby doesn’t freeze to death.
Micah and I are both descendants of pioneers, some of whom went through truly horrific experiences to get to where they were going. And right now I can’t believe that I have taken pride in the “difficulties” of my life. I am grateful that I can do the things I do, grateful that sometimes it is a little bit hard and that I do it anyway, but even more grateful that my ancestors were as tough as they were so that I don’t have to be.