I Am Protective

Waiting for a cold day in Texas is like waiting for this cuddly, adorable puppy you’ve always wanted…then finding out you are only going to get a stuffed animal.

Maybe you think I’m being dramatic, but I long for days where I can see my breath here. “Winter” is not exactly the word that I would use to describe this season in Texas, but my fellow southerners seem to think that a 50-degree day warrants wearing multiple layers of wool sweaters, gloves, and topping all of that off with a parka (I use this term lightly as I have yet to find an actual parka for sale here.)

Allow me a second to explain: I’m not a polar bear, but I suppose you could say I prefer their conditions in the arctic. The first 20 years of my life were spent up in Wisconsin, where snow by Halloween is commonplace and I had to wear an actual parka over my prom dress to keep from freezing to death. I have the pictures to prove it! The snow and ice holds a bit of magical nostalgia for me, especially during the holiday season. I miss nights spent sitting by the fire (without sweating), that glistening effect when the moon shines over a frozen pond at night, and the “crunch” sound that newly fallen snow makes under foot.

For the last several years I have traded in my full-body snowsuit and heavy-duty snow boots from Fleet Farm for something a bit less extreme. I have to admit that it is pleasant to breathe in delicious cold air without your lungs screaming in protest with that I-just-got-stabbed sensation that you get at below zero temps.

During the holiday season, I catch myself truly wishing for the White Christmases we once had. I don’t think it will ever be normal for me to see Christmas lights and a blow up Santa Claus with reindeer sitting on grass that is still green…but that’s ok. This whole move from north-to-south has shown me that you can change your mindset and enjoy a different kind of holiday experience, one that doesn’t necessarily have to be negative simply because it isn’t like what you always had.

Life has this funny way of making things that are behind you look better than they actually were. I’m not saying that my growing-up years weren’t as great as I remember them; it’s just that I tend to forget the hard parts. Living up north comes with a lot of tough work, and it’s not for the faint of heart. I no longer have to shovel my vehicle out just to make it to work on time, or wait 15 minutes while the defrost slowly grants me visibility. I never have to wrestle with a door or window that has frozen shut, or slide down a sloping highway ramp, wondering if I’ll hit the guardrail at any moment. My trunk can be used for actual storage now instead of this winter weather starter kit: kitty litter, a shovel, and a giant ice scraper. AND, when it’s winter in Texas, your car will always start…huge bonus!

While it’s taken me a while to get used to living with the seasons sort of backwards here, I have learned how to see the many advantages of more mild winters that Texans enjoy. That turkey trot 5k? It’s much easier when your legs aren’t refusing to move because it’s so cold. It’s pretty cool to take a family walk to see the Christmas lights instead of huddling for warmth in a car. Perhaps the best part is actually getting to wear cute fall and winter clothes! Up north, you feel a bit drab wearing all those layers, not to mention the fact that movement is restricted. Suede boots? Never; the snow would ruin them. But in Texas, I can totally take advantage of all the adorable scarves, sweaters, and boots I want, made out of just about any material. It’s more fashion over functionality; a lifestyle that was completely foreign to me before. I don’t have to worry about heavy snow or salt ruining my stuff, or “hat hair,” or even wearing clunky snow boots with a fancy dress to a party only to change into dress shoes upon arrival.

It might not be the weather for you. It could be culture, a different city, or a new family. But the best part of the holidays is, after all, getting to be with the people you love. So enjoy them, no matter where you are or how different it may be from your past experiences. It’s good to be content, and be thankful for what we have, whether that’s a yard full of snow or powerful AC blasting on Christmas Day.


A native of Wisconsin, Leah currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and 100-lb Golden Retriever, affectionately known as Gordon the Golden. She loves a good joke, tacos, and spends entire vacations reading novels. When she isn't managing Tangram Sky Interactive, her internet marketing company, she is probably out on a run logging miles for her next long-distance race.

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