“Enjoy the snow day!” My middle son’s teacher had closed her email from the evening before with this good wish.
Yeah, I thought…I’m sure she’s gonna enjoy the snow day…
Once I got the call from the superintendent that school was cancelled, I began feeling gloomy about a day with a packed calendar, a project deadline, and having to juggle three very energetic boys. I didn’t want to be too grumpy about it though, lest I put a damper on my boys’ good mood. What kid doesn’t enjoy a snow day? I told them they could stay up as late as they wanted.
On the bright side, because we found out the evening before, I could stay up until midnight working, since I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to get done the next day.
I suggested to the kids, “Don’t get up too early, you don’t have to go anywhere,” but they were up at least by 7:00 anyway. To their credit, they did try to be quiet, but their excitement over dueling tops couldn’t really be contained.
When I emerged to get coffee a few minutes past 7:00, my middle son immediately asked if we could go to Target. He wanted to spend some of his Christmas money on new Beyblades (the dueling tops).
“Uhmmm, honey…the town is kind of shut down today. No one is on the roads except the plows. Did you see the driveway? I don’t think we’d be able to get the car out any time soon anyway. Besides, I’m working today, remember?”
“Well, then can So-and-so come over?”
“Hello, look at the time – do you really think So-and-so is up yet?” But he probably was, and no doubt his mom was having the same conversation with him.
“Anyway, weren’t you planning to go skating this morning?” and the countdown began until 9:00 a.m. when they could go to our neighbors’ house – they’d built an ice rink in their back yard.
At 8:30 we began round one of dressing up for outdoors, which entailed much ado about “where are my gloves! No not those ones, the ‘good’ ones!”
Not long after 9:30 my middle son came stomping back into the house holding a wad of paper towels up to his face, blood gushing out his nose. I shoved my conference (wireless handset phone) call into my hoodie pocket and rushed to meet him, “My God, honey, what happened!?”
“Oh, nothing. I just faceplanted on the ice.”
“Are you okay?” I was relieved there were no other people involved, no teeth knocked out, and nothing that needed stitching.
“Yeah, but it just won’t stop bleeding.” End of round one. I helped him take off his clothes and put them in the dryer. His boots went in front of the electric fireplace, “good” gloves on the radiator. He went to lie down while I fixed hot cocoa for him, and mopped up the foyer where the snow (and blood) he tracked in was starting to melt. I set him up in front of a movie and returned to work.
Not long after his brothers filed in. I repeated the clothing removal, dryer, fireplace, mopping, and snack detail, and they joined their brother in front of the show.
At about 11:30 we began round two. Except for a few trips in and out to exchange gloves complain that something didn’t fit right or someone stole my gloves or “I can’t find my hat,” have a snack, and use the bathroom, the boys toured our very quiet and unusually traffic-free neighborhood with their friends until 2:00 when the ice-rink neighbors took them sledding. I was able to actually participate in two meetings during this time, and follow up with associated action items, as well as chip away at a project whose deadline was that day (and ultimately, was finished before midnight, which still counts as “that day,” since some people in Hawaii might still in the office at that time). They got back right in time for my 3:00 conference call, which I left on my credenza and went downstairs to repeat the clothing removal, dryer, fireplace, mopping, and food and beverage infusion again.
My youngest took a nap and my older two had So-and-so over. When So-and-so’s mom called to ask him to come home for dinner, my older boys began round three. By then it was past 5:00 p.m. I figured I’d call it a day soon. I needed to shovel, and was counting on doing that in order to burn off the cookies I’d enjoyed with my afternoon coffee.
But just then, the phone rang. I recognized the number and snatched it up immediately. It was the superintendent again, speaking agonizingly slowly. C’mon, c’mon, out with it, I thought, praying it wasn’t another cancellation (fortunately it was just a two-hour delay, but I groaned as I checked my calendar and saw that I had two meetings scheduled first thing in the morning, and that is why I wound up working again until nearly midnight after shoveling out and dinner).
I can’t say there was really anything about the day that I enjoyed as much as watching the snow fall from my office window, against the backdrop of the town clock. But I was glad my kids enjoyed it, and I could think of a lot of bright sides, such as my kids are old enough to play outside by themselves now, a benevolent couple in a plow came by and scooped out the end of my driveway where the street plows had piled and packed snow about two feet high, and with all the mopping up after my kids, my floor is a lot cleaner than it has been in a long time.