Down Shifting

One winter during my Eagle Lake years, I was up at camp helping with the horses. We’d ridden them up the valley from Colorado Springs to camp through snow covered trails and almost lost roads. It was beautiful and cold. I’m not sure I thought much about how we would get back down to town, seeing as we were in the company of the always capable Horse Camp Director, Melanie. 

The snow was deep enough that even her Toyota 4Runner wasn’t cutting it, so four of us packed into the cab of a camp truck. We were squished in tight and the 4 wheel drive on the floor board was sticking up between boots and snow pants. Mel started down the back road where the gravel was thicker and shifted it down to the lowest gear the truck had. We were crawling through the deep snow going 5 miles an hour, but we were making progress. 

That’s what this Christmas break felt like to me. The kids and I downshifted to the lowest possible gear. There were hacky coughs, fevers, long days with no schedule and I had spent all my creative energy in the weeks before the break. Sure, we did gingerbread houses and Christmas parties, but that was all before school got out, and so, we watched a lot of movies and Cartoon Network. I read a lot of books (too many). We did travel some and play with friends, but that was the exception to the rule. The rule was DO AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

Yesterday school was cancelled because of the temps – negative 30 or something. I was so relieved because I couldn’t remember how to do the morning routine anymore. Get up when? Make how many lunches? Does everyone have collared shirts? What time is drop off?

In a last ditch effort to remind my body how to function, I cleaned the house.The blood slowly returned to a slow flow, still in low gear, but I was making progress. I slowly plowed through the stacks and piles. The gravel was catching in my tires and I picked up speed through the day.

This morning, by some miracle, I remembered how we do things. And the kids, used to Mom shuffling around, book in hand, without a plan, made breakfast for themselves. Ha! They bustled around in new Christmas clothes looking cute and perky and I smiled as my mind and heart started to warm up too. 

It was a good break. Countless snuggles. Endless afternoons in front of blazing fires. We were all in low gear together. But, it’s time to be back in town, up and running.




One thought on “Down Shifting

  1. Heidi says:

    Jess – nice to hear from you again! I can relate to the whole relaxing and enjoying your family over the holidays. It is a very precious time. It is nice to get into a normal routine again, but as a mom with two college boys and one almost middle school daughter, it doesn’t get any easier once they go off to college. I enjoy I every minute with them when they’re home, but the tears shed when it’s time for them to go back to their school. You’ll always be their mom and thankful that you are.

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