Yesterday, Daddyland was an oasis. But last Friday, after a new snowfall, with two kids at home, it was a different, more daunting tale. In fact, I only returned late yesterday morning, with this journal in my frozen fingers. I remember nothing else.
9am: I turn off the TV, the baby bundled up. Get the toddler dressed and wedge her into the back seat of the sibling stroller. Outside, the snow has covered all tracks.
9:10am: I buy some winter weather gear from an old timer with a supply stand in our lobby. He has this big wide brimmed hat and a long beard. He assures me the snow tires and pick ax are top notch. “Got me through some hard days in the Yukon in ’64,” he says. The tires look worn and the ax handle shakes when the baby plays with it.
9:30am: We are pushing up the hill to open preschool but had to turn back at the short cut when we got caught at the edges of an avalanche. Took the long way around. Regretted not taking our reindeer sleigh (all Swedes have their own reindeer. I never talk about this because I take Rusty so much for granted.) Baby cries in the bitter wind.
10am: The stroller is taking on snow. I had the toddler out front clearing it with a shovel but her legs just gave out. I thought I saw another stroller being pulled by a dog team, but it turned out to only be the wind howling in my ears. A snow mirage.
12:30pm: We reach preschool. There are two other parents there, both Laplanders from the far north. We sing in their language. The kids appear fine but I still can not feel my feet. I dread the return home. The snow tires are flat, and the pick ax got stuck in the door of the grocery store we tried to get inside to buy matches for a fire.
1pm: The Laplanders take my sleeping children home on their sleigh. I curse that wily old timer who sold me the bad goods. And they did not even bake cinnamon buns at preschool, so I am weak. But there was no room for me on the sleigh.
Time blurs: I cannot account for the weekend. I took a wrong turn in the blizzard. I ended up on an ice floe, though there are none here. I was pulled by three old women on cross country skis. I waltzed with a polar bear. I tried to gut an imaginary dog for the warmth of its body. And finally I lay down to sleep, and I had a vision of a green warm meadow, but just before I drifted off a small Latina girl with a magic backpack and a monkey for her best friend guided me back to the snow, and gave me a map that led me over Snowy Mountain and past the Singing Icicles to get home.
Just in time to take the toddler to daycare.