Mama Madison: Talkin' about the weather

A cold spring can be unbearable

My mother always warned against discussing religion and politics in polite conversation. But, while I hate the idea of ignoring her advice, I tend to talk about both publicly quite a bit. I guess happily navigating an interfaith marriage (and working for a UW-Madison religious studies institute is just too big a part of my life to ignore"even with strangers. And avoid discussing politics in Madison, especially this year? Come on, Mom. Even you've got to cut me a little slack on that one.

And besides, I am not the least bit interested in the only mother-approved cocktail party small talk out there"the weather. I know nothing about atmospheric shifts or super cells. I've never been a fan of Al Roker and couldn't tell you who the weather guy is these days on Good Morning America. And, to be honest, my hair looks better wet.

Normally, a rainy day, even on a Monday, doesn't get me down.

But this April has been a different story.

Everyone dreams of a White Christmas; snow in December is not just allowable, but preferred. A White Thanksgiving, while perhaps a bit premature, certainly falls within the acceptable range. But a White Passover? You've got to be kidding me. Last week pretty much felt like an eleventh plague of biblical proportions was being visited upon Madison. Was this some sort of divine retribution for our current political situation in Wisconsin?

I might have preferred Lake Mendota turning to blood. Fortunately, we were spared a white Easter. Although I guess colored eggs would really pop in the snow.

And it seems particularly cruel that the cold, snowy, dankness had to fall on Madison's schools' spring (or should I say winter?) break. There was just no respite for the desperate Moms trapped inside all day with kids suffering from acute spring fever. This is the time of year where I depend on the opportunity to kick the kids to the park. But no, the closest we got to an outdoor activity was in the form of video games. I kid you not; my kids all developed Wii tennis elbow over the course of the week.

And even when rain, snow or hail is not falling from the sky, the ground is a complete mess. I have tried to convince my kids to consider playing indoor soccer year round, if for no other reason than to spare my floors and furniture. There are muddy cleats in my living room, wet uniforms in the dining room and filthy jackets in the kitchen. I realize I can't really blame my kids inability to put their stuff away on the weather (or the Regent Soccer folks), for that matter) but I am just furious enough at this particular spring to direct all my festering frustration toward Mother Nature. Can't she sympathize? I am pleading--from one mother to another.

T.S. Eliot was right, "April is the cruelest month." And I'm pretty sure he came to this conclusion never having to sit through Opening Day at West Madison Little League, freezing on the bleachers.

How did you cope with the winter that would never end? Any tips for survival while waiting for May flowers?

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