I had planned to go on my first hike yesterday while the kids were at school (Archie goes a couple days a week starting last Friday), but when I arrived at the park I didn’t have exact change for the honor system payment box. Instead of driving down the mountain looking for change or stealing from the great state of Texas, I drove to New Mexico for huevos rancheros. It’s the thought that counts, so I thoughtfully burned off all the breakfast calories on the hike I had intended to take.
After a delightful breakfast and a spicy chai latte outside Las Cruces, I stopped at my favorite ristra man’s shack to pick up some dried pepper wreaths for our house. While he
recited his favorite pepper recipes and told me about his pal Hank, the dead tarantula on the checkout counter, he mentioned that New Mexico was supposed to get snow this weekend. I checked the weather for the close by mountain towns, and the weatherman predicted snow with 100% certainty. I was born in Switzerland, lived in Moscow four years, and Minnesota for three. Though I have never participated in winter sports, I love walking around in snow, looking at snow, drinking hot beverages after being in snow, and pretty much everything to do with winter. El Paso’s winter had so far been unimpressive, so I texted Robby and suggested we leave immediately for the mountains. He said something about having a job, being tired, and Archer having a chest cold that I ignored. I suggested I whisk Jackson away to the mountains so he could enjoy his first snowfall, and a few hours later we were climbing the mountains into Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
Robby and I agreed that some one-on-one time between Jackson and I would be good for us. We were very close before Archer was born, but it turns out Mommy can be kind of a nagging shrew when she’s trying to keep two kids alive. “No, you can’t play with that because it has small pieces and your brother will choke. Eat your snack carefully over a plate because if you drop a crumb and Archie eats it he will get sick. Stop poking, shoving, and scratching your brother. I know he took your truck, but he’s just a baby and you know better!” You get the idea.
My kid loves to go places, from playgrounds to hardware stores, but I was nervous he would say he didn’t want to go with me. Lately he has been informing me that I am not his friend, and I know I’m not as fun as Daddy, so I was concerned he would rain on my snow parade. I asked him if he wanted to go on an adventure to New Mexico with Mommy, and he said “yep”. I was careful not to promise snow just in case the weatherman was drunk again.
I packed way too many things because I was nervous about my special snowflake being cold when he saw his first special snowflake. What if we get there and he hates the cold and doesn’t want to go outside? What if he gets tired of me before the sun comes up? What if I forget to be Fun Mommy and revert to Shrew Mommy and ruin the adventure for us both? So far, we are teetering on the edge between Fun and Shrew, as I function on very little sleep with a toddler who needs a nap but is having too much fun.
He is learning that Mommy can be fun and outdoorsy (as long as it is below 50*F), Mommy
can be tough and shovel snow, and unfortunately, that Mommy has a whole new vocabulary when the car’s tires lose traction. We’ll call her Sailor Mommy.
So far we stayed up late watching cartoons in our tiny one-room cabin on our shared futon, got up early to play in the snow, decided digging out the car was too hard and walked through knee-deep (for him) snow to town and had a big breakfast. We were too early for the shops, but we will probably head back out later. We trudged home after exploring and picked up a tiny fishing game at the gas station to play in our room. Most importantly, we have seen several vehicles and constructions machines re-purposed as snow plows, and that has been extremely exciting. He is currently running in circles begging to go back out and ignoring the much-needed nap I suggested, so I will try and update you on our great adventure later!