For those of you who are new to Chasing Roots...
The Mueller family's annual tradition of playing in the snow while wearing as little clothing as possible began in 1984, when six-year-old Erin and four-year-old Sara donned their swimsuits and ventured across their snow-covered backyard - from the porch to the swing set and back - for absolutely no reason at all. Read the full story here.
I brought this tradition with me to my marriage, and proudly introduced it to my children a few years after that. Read about Will's first swimsuit snow angel here.
One might expect such a tradition to become less important - to perhaps even disappear completely, the victim of a slow, painful death from hypothermia - once the children grow up and move out and change their last names, but not this tradition. Read about how my dad, Grandpa Paul, has kept the tradition alive here.
A couple of fun videos from years past - including when Will made his snow angel with a cast on his arm (wrapped up in a plastic bag, of course) and when my SIL "encouraged" my nephew to make his first swimsuit snow angel - can be found here and here.
And finally, a glimpse into the day we were finally able carry on our tradition here in Texas a couple of years ago.
Prior to this past December, we hadn't traveled north for three years - not since late 2019, when we spent Christmas in Nebraska - so we hadn't had consistent access to snow* for the same amount of time. During that window we subbed in a polar plunge (2020, 2021, 2022) for our annual swimsuit snow angels, and while this new tradition was lots of fun, it wasn't quite the same.
This year we vowed to revitalize the tradition, but we hadn't counted on the weather during our visit to Wisconsin being the coldest it had been in ages. We were committed though, so we waited until the "warmest" time of day on the "warmest" day of our trip (also the last day of our trip, so we cut it kind of close) and went for it. Tom, Will, Hallie, Lily, and Carter joined me - my dad would have joined us, but he had a friend over to play music at the time - and we had as good of a time as anyone can have doing such a ridiculous activity.
Notice that Will decided to nearly tackle me (and then resorted to "splashing" me with snow) as I was trying to run back inside. I suppose it serves me right for making him participate in this tradition year after year. 😂
Swimsuit snow angels - and the polar plunge - aren't for everyone. But I hope that every once in a while you do something that takes your breath away.
* We had snow in Texas during the Snowpocalypse, but it's no fun to make snow angels in your swimsuit when your power has been out for a day and a half and it's the same temperature inside your house as it is outside.