Cabin Fever


The ice came after the snow, followed by more snow. That week I went grocery shopping Monday night and didn’t leave the house—except to get the mail and feed the birds—until Friday night.


It seems as if everyone has their trying-to-conceive stories these days. Mine involved Clomid, two miscarriages and, when finally pregnant with a beating heart, two daily injections of Lovenox to maintain that beating heart. During those, at times, hellish months, I remember imagining days like these—sharing the beauty of ice-covered branches, enjoying the peace and quiet associated with staying in and staying put, my body kept warm thanks to another, smaller body snuggled up against mine.


And, during our week at home, there were many sweet and wonderful moments like that. But that’s the thing—they were moments, not days. And in between those sweet-and-wonderful moments were some trying moments, some cliché-grass-is-always-greener moments, some I-hate-snow moments.


And that’s the thing about babies, and, well, life, I suppose, if you want to get all philosophical about it. I’ve realized it’s the moments that matter. And when one moment is bad, or even really bad, you just have to trust that the next moment is going to be better. Because in one moment Sophie will be screaming her head off, and I’ll have no idea why. And in the next she’ll be resting her head on my shoulder, twirling one of my curls around her little finger. Just like one moment, many months ago, I was doubled over on the couch, sobbing over a heart that never started beating. And now, in this moment, I’m typing this while nursing my 10-month-old to sleep.


So to get through those long, snowy days at home, I tried to focus on the good moments. The moments of tickling her on the changing table and listening to her hearty laugh, the early morning moments of feeding her breakfast in the sunroom while watching the rising sun pierce the ice-covered backyard, the moments when Andy would come home from work and Tucker would run around and Sophie would laugh, both so excited to see him.


I’m reading Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. In it, the narrator talks about holing up in a winterhouse during particularly hard winters. “Day and night came not to signify. Our light was the fire. Smoke lay in a cloud above our heads, where it collected before going out the little hole. We kept housecat hours, sleeping three fourths of the day, and the rest of the time we cooked and ate and talked.” I read things like this and laugh, thinking, Who am I to complain? During the day I’m cooped up in a perfectly sized home, with a big warm lab and a beautiful daughter.


It’s all relative, I suppose. And now, as I look out the window and see brown, lots of wet brown, I miss those ice-covered branches. And, on a particularly busy day, I know I’ll miss being holed up in my home. So I tell myself, focus on the moments.

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you. … In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” Ruth Stout