If you haven’t heard me say it before, I grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia. I guess it was technically a city, but barely. It was one of those everyone-knows-everyone and everyone-knows-everyone’s-business kinds of places. A lot of my dad’s side of the family lived in the same town, and a lot of my mom’s family lived only two to three hours away (depending on who was driving). I grew up with many aunts, uncles, and cousins around and there was no shortage of family gatherings.
We’d often visit my mom’s family on weekends or holidays, and visiting them in the winter was especially awesome. My mom’s dad (my Opa) is a very hands-on grandparent. In the summer we’d play soccer and “over” (a game that involves throwing a tennis ball over a roof) and sometimes he’d take us fishing. In the winter, we’d to toobalooping.
I’m not exactly sure where the term “toobalooping” came from. My Opa owned a cafe/gas station, and he’d take the patched-up huge truck tires and blow them up and we’d race down the hill on them. We called them “toobaloops”. My Uncle Leroy would also pull us behind a snowmobile on them.
At home in the winter, Nick and I would build tunnels in the ditch in front of our house where the snow plow would leave huge piles. The depth of the ditch allowed us to fit two or three of us in the cave we’d eventually end up with. We were always very disappointed when our tunnels/caves caved in, but we’d always just start all over again and make it bigger and better than the last. Sometimes it would rain on top of a couple feet of snow and then freeze, and the result was that the top layer of snow, if we did it right, cut into great bricks that we could use as doors and reinforcements.
As I grew older, winters changed a lot in northern BC. We got less snow and it was warmer, making it a wet, slushy, miserable couple months. It was usually cloudy, and by the last winter I lived there, I hated it. I guess it didn’t help that I was in the midst of post-partum depression after having Liliana, but I wanted/needed to get out of there. I missed the sun.
Things are a lot different here on the prairies. Last Friday, we woke up to this:
Noah had just come home from work that morning saying that on his last round he had to do outside, at 5am, the temperature was -49 with the wind chill.
We woke up to the identical temperature this morning. Although it would be nice to have it warmer, it has been sunny for the majority of the last couple weeks. I can deal with almost any temperature as long as it’s sunny. The big beautiful blue prairie sky is something that I will never tire of, even if I have to endure -49 wind chills.
I posted on Facebook yesterday that it was two weeks and six days until spring. Spring seems like a completely unrealistic concept on days like today.
The thing is though, I told Liliana that the baby was coming when the snow was gone. If the snow disappears before the baby’s born, she’s going to be disappointed every day that she sees grass and does not see a new sibling. So, as much as I’ll lose Saskatchewan-dwelling friends to saying this, I’m okay with winter sticking around for a while longer. I’ll ask for forgiveness for that later.
(ps. Thanks for sending me those photos, Mom!)