|The view outside my front door|
I've been looking forward to this day since November. It's the first day in 2014 that the sun is setting after 5:00 p.m.
You see, I despise cold weather. I attribute it to my Cuban, tropics-loving roots. Every year in college, I would get mopey and sad as the days got shorter and shorter, and I didn't feel back to my usual bubbly self until spring—leading me to self-diagnose with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
When we moved to Chicago, I dreaded dealing with the cold winters again. Yes, I'd grown up with them, but I sure didn't like them. And that was before I even knew about the polar vortex heading my way!
To my surprise, I haven't felt particularly sad this winter. In fact I've been the happiest I've ever been. Maybe it's the excitement of being pregnant, or the fun of being a newlywed—or maybe it's just all these snow days we've been getting!—but ironically, this winter has been my best yet.
Even though I've been a happy little clam this winter, I still mourn the loss of my beloved sunlight. I cursed Daylight Savings when it showed up, and felt just a little bit annoyed every time the sun set before I left work. Walking back to my car in the ice and snow is bad enough. But walking back to my car in the ice and snow and in the dark? Pretty much the opposite of fun.
Finally I decided to stop complaining and try to find a bright side. I knew that once Christmas was over, the days would start getting longer again. I decided that everything would be better once the days were long enough that the sun set after I left work. So I looked up the daily sunset times here in Chicago, and searched for a day when the sun would set after 5:00 p.m. And there it was. January 28, 2014: the sun was due to set at 5:01 p.m. From then on, the sun would set a little later every day. Life would return to this frozen tundra. Spring would come again. It would be the return of Aslan all over again.
So I marked this day on my calendar a full three weeks ago and began counting down the days. I christened it "Sunshine Day"—the first annual celebration, if you will. Frank thought the whole thing was pretty funny and pointed out, "Just you wait. January 28 you're going to end up having to stay late at work and missing this whole sunshine thing you keep talking about."
He was partially right. Instead, I got a work-from-home Snow Day today. But don't you worry, I'm still doing the day up in style. As we speak I'm baking chocolate chip cookies while singing "Here comes the sun" in celebration. (There might also be some epic kitchen ballet going on in there too—the ol' wool socks plus wood floors combo.)
Happy Sunshine Day to all of you, dear friends! I hope you enjoy the bright rays in the midst of all this cold! And if you live in a place where the sun has been setting after 5:00 p.m. for a while now, please don't tell me. Just go count your blessings.