I envy bears that hibernate. They go to sleep at the end of fall and wake up in time for spring. I do wonder if this system applies to mama bears. The “Is it time to get up yet?” questions could go on for weeks. We have bad mornings at our house when I lose an hour or more of sleep to such questions, but the idea of waking up three weeks early sounds especially brutal. Next time we go camping, I am securing the food, but I am leaving out the coffee pot. Moms stick together.
Despite human DNA not granting me an extended nap through winter, I do feel like I can participate in things in cold weather that would seem bizarre in the middle of July. Today, I snuggled up on the couch next to my kids at 10am and read stories to them until we got hungry for lunch. We had chores to do outside, but instead of trying to beat the heat of summer racing outside at first light we waited for a few degree warm-up that would allow us to shed a layer. My toddler and I both appreciate not having to battle putting on mittens repeatedly every few minutes for the duration of our outdoor stay. Maybe mama bears spend all winter sweeping loose fur out the cave repeating, “I told you no shedding until spring! Do you want your paws to fall off?” I am leaving a Roomba with the coffee pot.
If I had a hibernation cave, I probably would not spend a season sleeping, but I would spend mornings, afternoons, and evenings wrapped in blankets enjoying book after book. The chore lists of parenthood grow faster than my children, but winter seems to find moments of pause that summer cannot spare. The chores step aside for cups of cocoa sipped slow enough for marshmallows to melt and library book stacks read unplanned for an entire morning. Sleep may not happen for me or the bears, but the book stack offers itself anytime night or day, alone or with the cozy, company of others. Mama bear, if the cubs get up early, I’ll leave a book as well. No need to rush spring; the sweeping can wait.