Gabi Froden: Looking back through snow-tinted spectacles
By Gabi Froden
I sometimes tell myself that every Swedish winter was white when I was a kid. I remember the wonderful quiet of heavy snowfall and magical days spent building snow forts. I loved those crisp, clear winter days when I would put on my skis and go round the neighbourhood again and again, pretending I was either Ronia, the wild and brave Astrid Lindgren character, or Gunde Svan, the 1980s skimaster.
I look at the catastrophe of grey rain and mud outside my window, and then over to the sofa where my children are on screens, and I say what all parents say: “When I was a child, we played outside aaaaall the time”.
Then the guilt sets in. Maybe my children are hard done by for living somewhere without snow. I spiral into thoughts that I’m not giving them the magical childhood they deserve – one that I could only give them in Sweden, because surely all of Sweden is a dreamy winter wonderland of joy from November til March.
But is it? Was every winter snowy when I was young, or do I just remember the ones that were? Scotland’s climate is certainly warmer than Sweden’s, but the people here also have a warmth that’s not easily found in Scandinavia. Maybe my children, growing up Scottish, will be formed by things other than white winters. Maybe they will be influenced by the lovely, funny community they grow up in, and remember the lochs we visit. Maybe Glasgow’s music scene will be their snowy winter days. Sure, they might struggle to become skiing champions, but they can still be wild and brave like Ronia.
As long as I get them off the bloody screens.
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