This morning we woke to -12 degrees. I try not to complain about the weather. I live in Wisconsin so it’s a given that one should always be prepared with bikini, galoshes, and parka (sometimes within the same week).
My German Shepherd, Sully, is confused. He normally hangs outdoors during daylight hours. He has free reign to wander, but sticks close to the house, and to us, his herd. Rain he understands. It makes his fur wet and his eyes squint, so he’s not a fan. He can see it, smell it, hear it.
But the whole cold protocol, “go outside, do your business, come inside,” is foreign to him. He keeps looking out different doors and whining. After all, it’s bright and sunny.
“Maybe this door will have a better day… or this one…”
Same day. Different door. Heavy sigh. He’ll whine for one of us to open the different door so he can be sure. If we acquiesce, he’s out for a minute, turns to give us a look, “Really?! This is just not right.” And he’s promptly back in.
Two years ago, we had a deep snow followed by a dangerous (-35 windchill) cold snap. Concerned that Sully wouldn’t do his business in the precious few minutes he could be out, I bundled Nanook-style and went with him. He is super excited when any of us walks with him, so he bounded out toward the trees, squatted to do his business and turned with a stunned look. “Holy frozen whizz, Batman. It’s COLD out here!” He promptly flipped to instinct-mode. Get low, burrow in a ball. A hundred pounds of not moving fur with 3 minutes left to be outside.
My snow-suited self jumped up and down like an astronaut on the moon. Through my three scarves, I yelled for him to come. The snow was thigh-deep in spots, so running wasn’t possible, but I lumbered to him and then coaxed him in. With his compass off, he needed my support and direction.
With re-entry to non-holiday routines, I often feel like I want it all to be different. New calendar, new year, new sweater (thanks, Santa!) I want to let the dog out and expect he’ll do his business and come right back in without burrowing in a ball in the tundra! But the morning still comes early. The floor is still cold under foot. And curling in a ball under covers sounds so inviting.
And it could’ve gone the same this morning… nagging about a slow start, patience short, and nostrils flared.
What was different this morning was an attitude. Since contributions (“chores” to some) had slipped over break, we sat the kids down last night to say that we needed support. Not only would school be starting again, but there will be a lot of change in January and February. Schedules changing, roles changing, routines changing. We asked for what we needed and wouldn’t you know it, the support came willingly.