Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Thoughts on Snow Days

Bloggers Note: I wrote this about 2 years ago after a fun filled snow day with my kids and even though it has not snowed in Austin since then, we still keep hoping! So back by popular demand...

Snow in Austin, Texas is almost unheard of and, as lifelong Texans, my children have only seen snow a few times. So on February 24, 2007 when I was awakened by my middle son, Winston, shouting “Snow everybody. No School. Snow Day! Snow Day!” I knew it was going to be a great day. We all got up and went downstairs to a world covered with white and full of the sparkle and hush that snow brings to every surface of our world. This was going to be one of those memory days that Gloria Gaither talks about, something we could all look back on and recall with a smile. “Remember that year in Austin when it snowed and you all got to stay home from school and we...”

Request number one. “Mom, can you make us all hot chocolate? Not the instant kind, but the real kind?” “Of course, I sweetly replied,” and just as I was pulling out the ingredients for the cocoa and homemade sweet rolls, I heard a voice calling from the other room. “Mom! Can you light a fire?” “Mom, we NEEEEED a fire, right now.” As I was going into the den to start the fire, I heard shouts from upstairs “Mom! Where are my gloves? Winston stole my gloves. Make him give them back.” “I can’t go outside without my gloves. I won’t wear the spiderman gloves those are for babies….” And so the perfect snow day begins.

Ok, friends. Here’s the deal. I know for sure that I will NOT survive any type of nuclear or bio-warfare attack where our family has to hole up inside our home or some other type of confined “safe” place for any length of time.

We have only been home for the snow day for 24 hours and I have already done about 2,000 loads of wash for children who have cried because they wanted to go outside and needed warm dry clothes, then cried again because the wanted to come inside and take off their wet, cold clothes to put on some new warm clothes, and on again, and off again, and on again, and off again for the clothes rotation. I swear my children have been in layers of clothing that I have never even seen before. I am not sure which is worse, having children crying because I say they can not go outside again or crying because when they do go outside and then come back inside again they are too cold and their hands hurt. My washer and dryer has been going non-stop almost all day.

Then there is the matter of the 30 or so individual dishes that I have had to pick up today from unique places such as the bathtub, behind the computer, underneath the bean bag chair and from virtually every flat surface in my playroom and den (AND THAT DOES NOT COUNT the meal dishes from our three “regular” meals). I have run my dishwasher 3 times today and it was full each time. NO LIE.

Next I can tell you about the number of times I have screamed at the top of my lungs “Take off your wet shoes and leave them by the door!” Or “Hang up those wet coats, don’t just throw them on the floor.” I am not sure, but I think those words must be coming out of my mouth in some sort of foreign language because not once today has anyone actually listened to them and understood them.

Then there is the small matter of our pets… Yes, I am sure many of you have worried about our chickens (as well as our three dogs, one cat, chinchilla, and guinea pig) but don’t worry, I made a little space for them right beside my husband’s side of the bed because he loves them so! Ha!

Actually, it is quite hilarious to see chickens strutting around in the snow – they don’t seem to mind and our chicken coop is heated and protected from the wind so that is ok. The only problem is my having to venture out in the cold several times a day to make sure their food and water is not frozen. And, as for the rest of our four-legged family members, they have had a wonderful day all warm and cozy by the fireplace. But, did you know that dogs don’t like to get their paws wet from the ice and so try to do their business inside where you can’t find it? In fact, mine are so smart that I can put them outside for an hour and they will wait until they come back inside where it is more comfortable!!

One of my favorite things about all being at home for such an extended period of time is the joy I find in relaxing in my home. With three children at home and a variety of neighborhood kids coming through the house, it is just a wee bit untidy….. but I have just been sitting around eating chocolate and reading books while these kids have dutifully picked up and put away every game they have taken out, every book they have looked at, every video (about 3,796 - I know. I counted. ) they have looked through to find that one special one they have not seen since last year, every crayon they have taken out and used in drawing snow day pictures, and every toy they have pulled out to play with because “I’m BORED Mom, there is NOTHING to do!”.

Last, but not least there is the minor issue of bickering among my children. Mind, you I say bickering because my sweet little darlings rarely ever fight and it is 9:30 p.m. and since they are all still breathing and all seem to be in full possession of their limbs, I am sure the screaming and yelling I heard at various times today came from some of the neighbor children. Mine get along so well.

Oh yea, and did I mention that my husband went to work today right away, first thing—he is such a good provider for our family and we are so grateful that he works so hard…. Come to think of it, he was awfully anxious to go and seemed determined to get there even if he had to hike………

Seriously, it is so wonderful to remember the JOY of being a child and being granted the wonderful miracle of a perfect snow day! I can still remember my first snow day in Austin, around 1969 or 1970 where we spent the whole day rolling down the hill at Tarry Town United Methodist Church and sneaking around the grounds of the Catholic Convent at the corner of Exposition and Westover because they were still pristine and no on had walked around on them yet. Then walking back up Exposition to Holiday House to drink Hot Chocolate and eat French fries. It remains in my memory as a “perfect day” almost 45 years later and I hope my children will also treasure their memories of that one perfect snow day or of any other special day that I can help them create. And those are my thoughts on snow days.

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