A great storm is coming.
There is no way to adequately prepare for her onslaught or
redirect her ferocious path. She comes every year and strikes fear
in the hearts of all those around her. She is one-part angry
Chicagoan bemoaning her dreary winter fate. She is also one-part
tired mom cursing the endless school communications regarding
reported diseases, new project outlines, and requests for book fair
She is Hurricane Marianne
Hurricane Marianne starts out as a Tropical Storm. In the
beginning, she's actually quite pleasant. She's breezy and warm.
After all, there is holiday planning to do! The decorations! The
baking! Tropical Storm Marianne merrily tends to all the festive
details with her three little boys serving as holiday elves.
Christmas songs play on the radio. The smell of cinnamon, pine
cones, and vanilla waft through the house. The first snowflakes
bring great excitement to little boys with their promise of future
sledding and skating.
Still. We know who's on her way. And it ain't St. Nick.
Thanksgiving is welcomed first. With all its trimmings and good
tides, our storm stays firmly in check. Then there is the next
surge of holiday parties that stave off Hurricane Marianne a little
bit longer. Christmas is the piece de resistance, carrying its full
arsenal of childhood magic, peppermint mochas, and electric trains.
Hurricane Marianne dare not rear her ugly head with an army of
smiling gingerbread cookies staring up her.
And for a while, all is quiet.
Then quickly, without much warning, Hurricane Marianne makes
With nothing to look forward to but a long winter of sub-zero
temperatures, gloomy skies, and layers of ice and sleet to scrape
off the minivan, Hurricane Marianne strikes her preliminary blows.
She's less patient with the kids. She is testier with teachers and
their backpack notices (Are we done with fundraiser notices yet,
Mrs. Teach, or do I need to start hawking my own flippin' blood?.
Worst of all, she is really, really hard on the one man who chooses
to stand by her: Weatherman Joe.
Weatherman Joe accurately predicts Hurricane Marianne's path
every year. He takes the kids sledding to keep them away from the
eye of the storm. He diminishes her strength by pouring a nightly
shot of Bailey's. He goes so far as to take out the garbage without
being asked and even hangs the coat rack that has been sitting by
the door for three months.
Yet when Hurricane Marianne is at her absolute worst, he reminds
her. The kids are healthy. We have an income. Our friends and
family are wonderful. We are blessed.
Unfortunately, that kind of logic and reasoning never really
work on a woman in the throes of seasonal affective disorder. So
goes the sun, so goes Hurricane Marianne's sanity.
What does work is having our perfect little storm take a deep
breath and a step back to find thanks in the unique gifts the year
has brought her. So in honor of Thanksgiving, I've been working on
my happy-happy-thankful list for a few days. Here's what I got so
They say it's often the little things that can make or break us.
I'm bound and determined to keep my ungrateful alter ego locked in
the attic this entire winter as an homage to my favorite Bronte
So here's to each of us finding a Thanksgiving list that works.
If not, I've got a bottle of Bailey's with your name on it chilling
in the fridge.
Happy holidays, Chicago Parents!
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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