I grew up loving snow days. Waking up to a pile of snow (or not) and either way hearing that school has been cancelled for the day brought an indescribable kind of childhood excitement for me. I don’t even actually remember much about how I spent snow days as a school kid, but I know I loved them.
Flash forward to continuing to spend time in education as an adult. Snow days have always been equally as exciting when you work in schools. Granted, managing possible school cancellations or not when working/living in 3 different school districts within one family is no easy task (this happened when Henry was small), but the ultimate satisfaction of an unexpected day gifted to take a break from the real world, spend time with my children and play in the snow was always a mid-winter welcome.
On to India and missing snow days. Not only for the permission to not do the real world, but also because of the cold weather, frozen ground and all that comes with it (snowmen, snowballs, snow forts, sledding, etc. etc. etc.). We had monsoons that delivered rain days, flood days, hurricane days while living in South India, but the snow day type of excitement was never quite there in those cancellations. Playing in it was not necessarily an option.
Flash forward again to being back in the midwest. Anticipation of a large snow and resulting snow day off from school has been growing since the first signs of winter in Minnesota. Looking forward to piles of snow to play in for hours, resulting rosy cheeks and hot chocolate requests have been on all of our minds.
Unexpectedly, I am viewing snow days from a different perspective for the first time in my life. What used to be a welcome break from the daily grind of routines, work and life now feels like an added task. This is the first year since I can remember that I am not only not working, but also not working in schools. Snow days mean working harder.
A snow day means that, while I love my children more than anything, I “get” to spend another full day with them. This makes 4 in a row. I understand that some parents do this all the time. I have a great deal of respect for them. Some who greatly enjoy it and some, like me, who do it because they either cannot find gainful employment or it does not make sense to work with the extremely high costs of child care in this country. This being my real first experience as a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom – slang I have learned since the start of this gig), I have realized I am a much better mom when being a SAHM is not my full time job. I mean, come on. A snow day now means I won’t get to read my book, drink hot coffee, listen to a podcast or sit in silence for even 10 minutes unless I guiltily put my boys in front of the TV or a video game. It means they spend another day with one another, likely doing everything they can to irritate the other because, let’s face it, this is day 4 together.
Instead of being the pessimist that this post is starting to make me sound (and, well, I am sometimes because SAHM, unemployment and transitions are HARD), I tried to take today to appreciate all of this fluffy white stuff. The sun glistening and reflecting the sparkles in the snow. The not so frigid temps that allowed for spending time outdoors in the cold air and sunshine. The joy in my kids when they fall into the snow intentionally, and lay there for a while basking in this stuff that has not been in their lives for the past 3 years. The excitement in Henry’s voice when he describes the detail that went into the snow fort he and a friend have been building. William regularly eating it and sucking every last bit of moisture out of his mittens.
Today was fun. It wasn’t like my usual snow day excitement, but fun. Now, looking forward to tomorrow…when I put them on the school bus, have a hot cup of coffee and enjoy 10 minutes of silence.