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2-24-2015I’ve seen a lot of cruelty this winter. It’s been a long, hard, cold, cruel winter. I will be more than glad to see it go this year. I normally am a big fan, but this year it has overstayed its welcome.

It started out a bit early, but then it tapered itself back. In fact, we had a green Christmas this year. There was no snow for Santa and his sleigh. But since then it has made up for lost time. It has snowed and snowed and snowed. The temperatures have been brutal and below freezing. We have had several below zero days here with dangerous wind chill factors. I usually go out, resigned to my fate, and shovel out the latest snowfall so that the cars can get in and out. This year we can’t keep up with it. The driveway is full of ruts and quicksand-type snow. The snow piles on either side of the drive are piled so high that we have begun reversing in so that we can try to see better when we drive back out again. Even with a backup camera and motion-sensing alarms on the car, I’m terrified to back out into the road most days. The snow is heavy and hard, and it’s almost impossible at this point to widen the driveway any. The front step has become a hazard as well. After my son fell on it, I got out the bag of salt and spread gobs of it everywhere. I managed to dig free a few bare spots this morning. Mother Nature has been a cruel bitch this year.

My beloved birdfeeder has been abandoned. More cruelty at play. Because it is so God-awful cold out, my feeder has attracted a less-than-desirable crowd this year. It started with my neighbor’s favorite – the crows. Those loud and bold characters drove off the quieter birds. There have been no mourning doves this year. The cardinals have disappeared, too. The squirrels and sparrows struggled to find food after the crows decimated the offerings. It became a game to try to outsmart the crows. I tried changing the timing, but they got wise to that fast. I’d open the door at odd times to find several of them perched outside, watching the house. It was creepy. The real end of the feeder has been the hawk. How I hate that awful thing. I have had at least five sparrows meet their untimely end this year. I know the hawk has to eat, too, but I wish he’d grab his prize and leave. I am so sick of finding the gore outside on the freshly fallen snow that I have stopped feeding the birds altogether. It breaks my heart, but the deaths bothered me more. We have been reduced to standing outside with a small handful of peanuts which we toss to our squirrel friends one by one. I am hoping when the snow goes that the hawk does, too. It will be able to find food sources elsewhere so it can leave my birdfeeder alone.

This has also been a hard and challenging winter for us personally. I finally took on the school district on my son’s behalf. The straw that broke that camel’s back was when the administrators decided what was best for my son. For an autistic young man in a transitional program, learning independence and making adult decisions is the key thing. When administrators decide that he can only reach a certain level or should only do a certain type of job, then I get angry. After fighting them for the past 6 months, I put a stop to the entire program. He had been to a job site to look it over and see what he thought. They were proposing he switch jobs and start there (it was a retail store). He didn’t like it. He had his reasons, and he very clearly and calmly stated them. I agreed with his decision. The administrators did not. I received a phone call to tell me he was starting at the retail store on the next Monday, and while they realized he didn’t want to work there, THEY felt it was in his best interests. I blew up. I am a calm and non-confrontational person (in public) 99% of the time. Not that day. I yelled, and they finally listened and withdrew that proposal. Then we attended a number of other meetings, tours and events – all geared towards next year and putting my son on Medicaid and classing him as a disabled child for the rest of his adult life. Both my hubby and I disagreed with that plan. When my son and I went to the annual planning meeting before an entire committee of teachers, specialists, administrators and the school district representative, I finally had my say. In fact, I took control of the meeting before anyone in the room said their piece, and I politely withdrew my son from the entire program. We have been asking for this since September, but we just hadn’t told the people who mattered. So my son will finish out the program, and in June, he’ll finally be free. The transitional program seemed like a good idea when he graduated from High School in 2013, but it wasn’t. It did give him a few more years to mature, and now it will be up to him (and God) where he goes in life. He will have our support 100% (like he always has). I think he learned that this year when I stood behind all of his decisions and lead the way for him when he wasn’t able to get himself heard over the administrators’ incessant babbling.

Yes, it will be good to see this winter and its cruelty end. I am ready for sunshine, flowers, birdsong and warm breezes.