Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Being a True New Englander

What does it mean to be a true New Englander?  Some say that it is when you have been born and bred and lived your whole life here.  Some say it is the enjoyment of the change of seasons. Still others say it is all about the attitude.  Many New Englanders are found to be cold, distant and antisocial.  

I guess if it is being born and bred here, then by definition I am a true New Englander.  I also guess that I have a somewhat distant personality :)  I like my small social group and oftentimes find it difficult to let new people in.  I am not antisocial, but definitely gravitate to small gatherings, quiet dinners and who and what I know rather than large parties or events full of people I have yet to meet.  I do not find it difficult to make conversation with new people, but instinctively prefer to stay within the comfort zone of those I love and trust.  

But if being a true New Englander is about the seasons, then I am MOST DEFINITELY NOT one.  I despise the cold, cringe when it snows, dislike the rain and can't stand the changing of seasons.  I absolutely adore the hot and steamy summer months.  It can never be too warm for me.  One of my favorite pastimes is to bask in the radiance of a hot summer sun only to leisurely move next to the fire pit to keep warm as the setting sun goes down on a summer's night.  I don't particularly mind the autumn season, but the cold nights do get to be a bit cumbersome.  In RI, to exist peacefully during our autumn months means having a wardrobe consisting of every type of warm to cold weather fashion.  On a single day it will go from sweltering heat during the day to unbearable cold that same evening.

Winters can be truly grueling.  Usually, about mid-November that "bone cold" sets in and remains with me until June 1.  It seems that for those 6 or 7 months I truly cannot get warm. My muscles ache, my joints seize up and my bones feel like those of an 80 year old woman.

Spring does not exist in this world.  I don't care what people say.  In lovely New England we go from snow and cold to rain and cold to blistering heat.  There is no in-between.  From the end of March to the beginning of June the only truly happy creatures in Rhode Island are the ducks. Mr. P's famous saying this time of year is "It's a good day to be a duck".  

Alas, my griping and groaning goes unheeded.  Mr. P, Miss Samantha and JP all love the changing of the seasons.  They love the winter snow and ice and will stay outside in the bone-chilling cold and blizzard conditions until their feet fall off due to hypothermia.  Occasionally they will venture in for the hot cocoa by a roaring fire for a few minutes, just to run back out to continue frolicking in the cold.  Me?  I watch them from the window in the warmth of my home and wonder how long it will take for me to sort, dry and put away the many accoutrements of winter garb.  

They love the foliage in the autumn.  They see amazing blasts of color and continually look for new shades of reds, golds and purples on the trees.  They see beauty in the cascades of falling leaves and stare in awe as the colors change before their very eyes.  Me?  I see dead leaves that will just make for more work for Mr. P to rake up.

The Spring is all about hope, fun and promise for my dear hubby and children.  They are looking forward to opening the pool, riding ATV's on the trail behind our house, and starting new adventures in the outdoors.  It is also a time of bringing out the bikes and skateboards and basketballs.  Rain or shine they are out there whooping up the good times of a new season.  Me?  Again, as Miss Pessimistic, I see rain that makes my hair frizzy, trees blooming that make my allergies flare up and mud being traipsed through my newly cleaned home.  

Finally, after months of waiting and hoping, the ONLY season I truly love arrives!  Summer is my time.  I spend most days outdoors enjoying the weather along with my family.  They are truly happy that mom has finally joined them in their love of being outdoors.  We share joy in the leisurely days and company filled nights.  We are together.  We are family.  We are one. They have learned to treasure these times, because they all know that in a short 3 months, they will once again be on their own and mom will be tucked safely inside watching their adventures from the window.  

As for being a true New Englander?  I guess I am one.  Other than the change of seasons that I most certainly do not love, I have been born and bred here and admittedly have the whole attitude thing down pat.  

So when the time comes, and Mr. P and I finally retire quietly to my dream island in the sun, I can honestly and truly tell those I meet, "Yes, I am a New Englander."