Margo in the snow. (Photo by Tim Sullivan)

We took down the Christmas Tree on Jan. 1, which must be a calendar record for our family.

I wish I could say it was thanks to a spirited commitment to productivity in the New Year but in truth our Noble Fir had entered a rather ignoble phase. The needles were turning brown, and it was so dry that a sturdy sneeze might have completely disrobed it if a wonky candle didn’t set it ablaze first.

I saw it as an opportunity to put our houseguests to work, too. We sat around so much that week that this was going to count as an activity as much as watching Maine Cabin Masters did. Typically, the de-Christmasing session is sort of a sad task but with the help of Kristen’s sister and her family it was sort of fun? I think?

A few of my siblings had plans to come down here from the Northeast for Christmas but cancelled in early December as the Covid Delta wave torched their region. We had planned on having a Holiday party with close friends and neighbors before the Omicron surge set siege on the Southeast. So dutifully we cancelled that too. Our Christmas dinner with extended family? Cancelled due to a couple of positive cases. We are cancel culture! May all the stockings be filled with rapid tests!

So now we’re on to 2022. The silver lining is that at this point in the pandemic we’re well practiced at being homebodies. I’ve settled into something of a sweatpants complacency and at times I feel guilty for kind of relishing it. We consumed the entire new season of “Cobra Kai” in four sittings and SPOILER ALERT – this year the All-Valley tournament has a special musical guest! But really, to all my friends who I do indeed miss – it’s not you, it’s me and my sweatpants and my disciplined, courteous, responsible laziness.

Elliott and Margo’s schools boldly returned to in-person learning. Margo did have two days of virtual, pajama pants learning while the school was short staffed but somehow, they are holding it together. We take a deep breath before opening the daily Covid reckoning emails from the principals and prepare ourselves for whatever might come next. Same goes for basketball season. I’m coaching both kids’ teams again this year, but practices have been canceled for a few weeks to limit gatherings. So I see my players for games only and try to cram a week of coaching into an hour, from a distance, through a high quality mask. It’s less than ideal.

But this week I heard a wise man say that his motto for 2022 was to “control the controllables.” Some things lay beyond our control and a pandemic certainly qualifies but how we treat our minds and our bodies is something we can exert a lot of influence on. Okay fine, it was a Peloton instructor, but it does make sense! And while I’ve settled into this purgatorial existence where I never feel particularly high or low anymore my kids haven’t entirely given in to that. So, what is within our control?

Perhaps the weather? Now hear me out – on MLK Jr. weekend our area was expecting the rare snowstorm. In town there is always the chance that the temperature stays a little too warm and it is just a bummer of a winter rainfall. But in the mountains, it was looking like a sure thing. At the last minute, Kristen rented us a place and we chased the storm to trade in our sweatpants complacency for a little spirit lifting, snow pants euphoria. I can’t control or even predict how difficult it will be to get back, but I got us here. And now there is a foot of snow, and the kids are happy and for a day or two at least, nothing will be cancelled.

Tim Sullivan is an award-winning columnist who writes about family life and thinks everything is at least a little funny.