jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

The Winter of Our Discontent

Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house

In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

~Shakespeare’s Richard III

I can’t get this out of my head. “Now is the winter of our discontent…”

It’s snowing again today.

Or should I say, “It’s snowing again today.”

Or in the voice of Owen Meany, allow me to say, “IT IS SNOWING AGAIN TODAY.”


Driving to school
December 2014

The new thing in the pre-school parking lot:

“I don’t like to complain about the weather but-”

“I know! Last week when there was that flurry at Monday pick-up? I slid into her car trying to stop my minivan there. And it wasn’t even supposed to SNOW!”

Then a mother walks by in a stupor,  with four kids in hand, “I need the sun. I need the beach. I need the sun.”

Oh, wait. That last one was me.


January 2014

Dont’ get me wrong. I love the snow. I love sledding and hot cocoa, building snow fortifications (for an opportunity to discuss the “keystone” vs. the post-and-lintel systems in ancient architecture as seen in the Mycenaean Lion’s Gate from 1250 B.C…. yes, this is me missing adult interaction) and shelters in the woods. A lobsterman passed me one morning while I was running last month to say, “Ya ought to wear some covah’ on ya face when it’s this cold out.” (He was driving instead of lobstering because it was too cold to pull the traps. At 6°F  (-14°C), the claws snap off when you band them. Who knew?!) Because when it comes to snow and winter, I am all in.


Snowpeople in the yard
January 2014

Around Thanksgiving we get all kinds of outside to check the changes of the season. In early December I’m looking for future flurries in the weather report, yipee! By Christmas we are loving the twinkling of lights and Frosty the Snowperson in the yard. January’s icicles illicit constant ews and ahs on every drive. February, I’ll admit… I’ve never liked February, but still, it’s got good sledding. I’ll give it that.


February 2014

But my house has smelled like wet snow boots for four months (because I invert them on every heating vent in the downstairs to get them dry for the next adventure.) And the mittens are filled with the rot of wetness left to mildew in the bottom of the mitten bin. My son just put on a balaclava and said, “Ugh. This smells like Dad’s smelly head.” Because it does. It all sort of does.

When will this winter end? Or honestly,  WHEN WILL THIS WINTER END?!


Looking for Spring
February 2014

I don’t remember noticing winters going on and on and on like this. I used to have a real job, one where you drive to work, you mostly sit in a building, then you drive home, and for all this sitting, you get paid! The seasons passed by mostly unnoticed except for weekends, glances out the window, the occasional snow day and of course, summer (which is a teacher’s bread and butter.)

Now though, the seasons are everything. Every time I leave the house I have to procure four pairs of snowpants, eight (fairly) dry mittens, four coats, four hats, four gators/scarves/neckwarmers, and that’s assuming I’m not looking for stuff for me or my husband.  Remember me? I walk at least 15,000 steps each day. And sure, 50% of those steps are up and down the stairs. But the rest? We are getting outside.

To wake up to snow again this morning was a spirit-crushing defeat. This weekend I heard that spring was on its way. I heard it from the weather people, from the mamas I text, from the woman at the farm stand which is open again but only on weekends. I even heard it from the birds at the bird sanctuary.


Bird sanctuary
March 2014

Now is the winter of our discontent.”

They say tomorrow will bring 50°F (10°C)  weather. And with that I’m sure we’ll have the requisite stomach bugs and flu-like symptoms as every nefarious bacteria and germ is reawakened from the mud that lies beneath the snow. But, I have to say, the birds are ready, the boots are ready, the mitten bin is beyond ready.

And we, we are ready for spring.


A bird in the hand
March 2014

10 comments on “The Winter of Our Discontent

  1. Margie S
    March 11, 2014

    Welcome to New England! I know I am not the majority but I liked this winter. It reminded me of the ones growing up. Aside from last year, the winters have been pretty wimpy as of late. My kids now have a better appreciation for winter.

    • jgroeber
      March 18, 2014

      Ha! After this past week of cold, cold, cold I think you must be in the minority. Winter. Too. Long. Although I do think about people living in more northern environs and I think I need to just stop the complaining. But still… all this cold and no snow and four kids? Ack!

  2. Amy Reese
    March 11, 2014

    Jen, these pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I’m so sorry you have to deal with this winter so long. I can’t imagine outfitting four kids in snow gear and then trying to keep it all dry for multiple days. In California, snow is a rare occurrence, a trip to the mountains for a few hours! I hope spring comes soon for you. Hang in there. I love the photos. At least you have those. Those are really special.

    • jgroeber
      March 18, 2014

      Thank you. Something about the starkness of a child in a vast field of snow with a few harsh trees in the background… timeless.
      But then I want to run inside and have some cocoa.
      Or hurry summer up so I can go to the beach. Enjoy your weather! I love the idea of driving to the snow and then driving back home again. Now that would be something pretty cool.

  3. Perfection Pending
    March 12, 2014

    I feel for you. That was our winter last year. This year, we’ve watched the entire country be pounded with winter, and I already have buds coming up in my yard!!! And, can I just say the fact that you referenced Owen Meany makes you one of my all time favorite bloggers now! 🙂 That book is in my top 5 for sure!!!

    • jgroeber
      March 18, 2014

      I can’t help but think of OWEN MEANY every time I use all caps. His high-pitched, loud voice. And I think I was maybe 22 the last time I read that. (Is that possible?!)
      Spring couldn’t be far away now, right?

      • Perfection Pending
        March 18, 2014

        Maybe it’s time to read it again??? 🙂

        • jgroeber
          March 18, 2014

          I WAS JUST THINKING THE SAME THING! (Ha, ha. I used all caps… but I really was thinking THE SAME THING!)

  4. HBG
    March 12, 2014

    How happy was I to wake up to a temperature that was not compatible with snow! I know it is supposed to change, but it is nice for a bit to be snow-free.

    • jgroeber
      March 18, 2014

      Spring can’t be far, can it?
      Today I sent the kids outside in their rain boots with just sweatshirts on. Tim pointed out that it was only 40 with snow still on the ground. But relative to how it’s been, it seemed balmy!

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