The other day—the last day of February, to be exact—I was driving my two younger children to an 8:00 am appointment. It is a sad truth that the last day of February in northern New England is seldom warm, even the occasional Leap Day, as it was.
But it was morning, and I had been running around before I got in the car. I was also stressed because we had been in a hurry to get out the door to meet the time constraints of the requisite appointments. And because I was stressed, I was warm. I cracked open the car window to get some air.
“Oh no, Mom! Close the window!” my daughter groaned from the passenger seat. “It’s cold in here!”
Now, before I continue, let me fill you in on a bit of background information. My daughter is always cold. All winter long, she comes downstairs in the morning wearing a long sleeve t-shirt with a plunging neckline, and maybe (on a good day) a sweater that’s made out of some material that’s no warmer than tissue paper. And then she complains that she’s cold, and I need to turn on the heat. Yeah… no.
“It’s not cold in here,” I retorted. “It’s quite warm.”
“It’s NOT warm, Mom. You’re ruining our lives!” She let out a little giggle at her dramatic statement. “So… last night I heard a commercial on the radio, and it made me think of you. This lady was opening the windows in her house, and her kids were complaining that it was below zero and they were freezing. And then the announcer said, ‘Is menopause ruining your life?’” She paused here for effect. “Totally you, Mom. You are tearing this family apart! Turn on the heat!”
“If you dressed warmer, you wouldn’t be so cold,” I told her. “It’s always warm enough in our house.”
“Just because you’re warm enough, doesn’t mean we have to keep the heat at 48°,” she stated bluntly.
“We have heat to keep us warm and a roof to keep us dry. You should feel fortunate.”
“Are you seriously playing this card?” she asked, incredulous that I would expect her to feel fortunate when she’s always cold. “Why should we freeze because, you know… Socialism?”
“I’m not saying you should freeze. I’m saying you should recognize that you are lucky. If you want to pay for the heat, I’ll turn it up. In the meantime, I’ll pay for a sweatshirt.”
“I had a dream that I was with Bernie Sanders,” she said as she abruptly changed the subject. She went on to fill me in on the rest of her dream.
“That was kind of a random change of subject,” I informed her when she was done.
“Oh well, you know… Socialism,” she responded.