With the New Year comes something else if you live in New England…snow days. Or if not actual snow days, the potential for them.
Growing up, most children awaited news of a snow day via the radio. Sometime after seven, they’d hunch around the radio, listening to the long list of alphabetized cancellations, fingers crossed that their school would make the cut. As the daughter of a principal in the town where I attended school, my brothers and I were blessed with hearing the news first, by an early morning phone call when we were still tucked in bed. The ringing phone sometime after five AM was our indication that we could roll over and sleep for another few hours.
These days most of us hear about snow days by an automated text or phone call, yet the day and night prior to a snowstorm still prompts the same anticipation and weighing of the pros and cons of a possible day off. In our house, the conversation usually goes something like this:
“Looks like school might be cancelled tomorrow.”
“That would be great. Except then we’ll have to make up the day in June.”
“Yeah, but a day off would be great. Then we’d have a long weekend.”
“I know, but it’s only January. We just got back to school. A snow day now would be a waste. Plus it’s too early to start racking up snow days.”
“Maybe we’ll have a late start?”
“Those are such a pain. They’re so disruptive to the school day.”
“Yeah, but you don’t have to make those up.”
“I guess. I hope we have a snow day.”
“I’d rather save it for February, when we really need it.”
When I was a kid, my brothers and I would have a similar conversation with our mother the night before a snowstorm. Our mother’s reaction, to our intense annoyance, would always be the same:
“It doesn’t really matter what you hope for. Either we’ll have a snow day or we won’t. We don’t have any control over it.”
To which we’d groan, “Moooooom!” She wasn’t playing along with the game, which was more about the anticipation of a possible day off than anything else.
However, these days I find her approach comforting. There are so many things I feel I should be in command of—my children, my home, my classroom, the structure and order of my household. When there’s something truly beyond my control, I appreciate the chance to sit back and let nature run its course.
Today we had a delay, two extra hours to sleep in, have a lazy breakfast, and play outside. And as I drank my second cup of coffee, leisurely, as opposed to while I race around the house barking orders at my daughters, I thought of my mother and the freedom that comes with not having to be in control, even if just for a morning.