Snow and Sickness and Those Horrible Mommy Moments of Panic

Posted on January 16, 2013 by

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 052

I was sick for most of the winter vacation.  Really sick.  Runny, sneezy, want-to-claw-out-my–itchy-eyes sick.  For days.  This is NOT how I wanted to spend my vacation.  I imagined a long, restful break full of cooking, baking, laughing, skiing, long walks in the snow, dinner with friends, games by the fire…not exactly what I got.  Instead, I was on the couch, tissue close at hand, too tired and grumpy and feeling sorry for myself to be pleasant company for anyone besides my family.  They had no choice.  It was everything I could do to not invite the whole Tahoe basin to my pity party.

Why is it that teachers always get sick on their vacations?  Not fair.  Who was the little creep who infected me with this?

The other bummer about being sick, besides thinking about all those sick days you’re NOT using, is that when you’re a mom, no one takes care of you – and you still have to take care of them.

Actually, now that my kids are teens it’s much easier.  Those baby years were rough-I guess I do have it easier now. I don’t have to change diapers, rock them to sleep or read Curious George for the millionth time.  But they still needed to be fed, and in the snow, grocery shopping is a huge ordeal.  I wasn’t up for that at all.  No endless circling the parking lot for a space, slogging into the store, pushing the shopping cart through the snow (that’s a fun one – have you tried it?) or heaving over-packed grocery bags through the four feet of snow to our door.  So, I did what any mom would do: I sent my son to the store.  On foot.

Ok, it’s not as bad as it sounds.  There is a mom-n-pop type store just down the snowy icy, street.  He can’t drive, but he can walk.

I slapped $20 in his hand, gave him a strict lecture about walking on the highway versus the road (I told him to choose the road-he’s quick, but jumping out of the path of a sliding car is not worth it), and sent him off.  It was daylight.  It was just down the street.  It was just for some eggs.

I watched him walk away, headphones over his ears, smile on his face.  Happy to be helping mama, or happy to be out of the house?

30 minutes later and it was getting dark.  No sign of teenager, eggs, or anything else that would alleviate my anxiety.  I was ready to call out the patrol. But, I was sick, on the couch, and in my bathrobe.  I had to fight my natural urge to hurl myself through snow banks to go find him. My baby was out in the snow.  In the dark.  Sensing my impending eruption, my husband volunteered.

As he geared up, amazing thoughts flashed through my mind.  Images of my son taking a detour, going to the highway for a shortcut, bounding through snow banks.  I imagined the sirens racing down the highway on the way to pick him up, the phone call, the hospital…I was way gone into future-trip land.

Just when I felt I was about to burst, something dark caught my eye.  There he was.  I spied him out the window, sauntering down the street, carton of eggs in hand, and headphones on ears.  He wore a huge smile on his face.

I exhaled all my anxiety, and tried to use the next sixty seconds figuring out how to handle myself. I couldn’t yell. I wanted to scream and release all my rage and fury about what he’d put me through.


I fought the urge to run out into the snow and throttle him.  I figured the best bet was to play it cool, act as if I wasn’t worried.


He walked through the door, stomping the snow from his boots. “Mom, I spent some time down at the lake. It was amazing.  The sky was so beautiful.  I took pictures.”


My heart melted along with the clumps of snow on the hardwood floors.  What a fool I am.  What a silly, foolish worrywart.  What a paranoid, over-protective parent.

I wanted to give him a lecture on the dangers of wearing headphones, but his sheer joy took it out of me.

“You’d be so proud of me, mom.  I checked the expiration dates.  One carton expired tomorrow, so I didn’t buy it.”  I could feel him growing up as he spoke.

You’re right, Cam, I thought as I hugged him close. You have no idea how proud.

Through Cameron’s eyes:

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 045

the sky was truly amazing, wasn’t it?

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 047

I see why he wanted to get closer…

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 044

that’s a little too close, Cam

12 12 Tahoe and Mammoth 051

OK, so there was a bit of goofing around…

Tahoe Pines on Dwellable

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

Comments: 9

  • Maybe It's Just Part of Being A Mom - mamawolfe

    January 24, 2014

    […] teacher (I’m sure my students are loving it!), I worry about how my family will adjust our complicated weekend plans, and look around at all the things I should be doing if I’m at home and not working. In other […]

  • Laura@Catharsis

    January 26, 2013

    I was panicked right along with you! I also have a tendency to thrust myself into the future with my imagination, occupying my thoughts with horror. So glad he’s OK and you’re feeling better (I hope!).
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted…An Open Letter to Women EverywhereMy Profile

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 26, 2013

      Laura, I’m not sure if we’re cursed as writers or moms, or if it’s a double whammy, but my imagination often takes me places I do not want to be. It’s a constant struggle! Maybe I should write some of them down…nah. Thanks so much for writing! -Jennifer

  • Carrie @ poet in the pantry

    January 24, 2013

    Love this! So much cause for concern and yet he’s such a mature young man. How nice that he stopped to smell the flowers (or take in the scenery) and appreciate the beauty before him, even if it did make you worry. And yay for checking the expiration date! 🙂

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 25, 2013

      Thanks, Carrie. It’s so amazing to watch my children grow up…when they make their choices, try new things…I can see all their learning reflected in them. Proud of my boy, even thoouugh he did give me a scare! That’s parenthood, right? Thanks so much for writing – Jennifer

  • Michael Ann

    January 21, 2013

    I loved this. What a beautiful little story! I would have gone through those very same thoughts, imagining the worst. And then there he was, so delighted in what he’d seen and done. So beautiful!

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 21, 2013

      Thank you , Michael Ann. It’s so hard for me not to jump to the end of the story before it has played itself out!

  • Dawn Wink

    January 17, 2013

    Wonderfulmamawolfe. Thanks so much for expressing here those journeys that all of us moms take several times a day – the journeys that happen only in our own minds! Love the photos through Cameron’s eyes. To see these, after sharing the mama journey, makes them all the more bittersweet and powerful. A beautiful juxtaposition of experiences that will stay with this mama. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Wolfe

      January 17, 2013

      You’re welcome~the older my kids get, the more I value every minute of the journey. Sometimes I’m exhausted-often times-but in reality, I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CommentLuv badge