How I love a snow day. A day that allows us to leisurely gaze out the window, watching the snow as it descends on the lawn, patio and driveway, turning the world into a white wonderland. The world seems to stop, affording us the time to watch the birds as they scramble for food at the feeders, flitting through the swirling snow. Even the dogs sit and watch the birds, taking time out to bark at the rumble of the snowplow clearing our street. Twenty-some years ago the scenario was the same, but the day itself was different. My kids were young, and a snow day meant unbridled, euphoric joy.
Whatever you call it- “Global Warming” or “Climate Change,” winters are less wintry in St. Louis. I grew up with sleds, toboggans and cross-country skis. Every Christmas was a chance to get a new metal saucer (the kind that fly down the hill and knocking you in the head!) or ice skates that actually fit. Nowadays, a gift of a sled or toboggan would likely sit in the garage for years, unused. So, when my kids were young a snow day was the best day of all. Before the era of email alerts, we’d watch TV to see if the school was closed. If it was, we’d celebrate!
First, we’d watch a little TV in our pj’s. Then, we’d rummage through the closets to find long underwear, hats, mittens, scarves, whatever we needed taking the temperature into account. We’d undoubtedly find some neighbors already playing outside, and we’d call the kids’ cousin, Lele, could come over and we’d have a real hootenanny.
Lunch was always Chunky Chicken soup with homemade popovers. Hot chocolate was the only drink of choice. We had a great hill in the back yard for sledding or floating on an inner tube. Megan, who lived one street over, used to ice skate to our house when the streets were icy. She was, and still is, quite an athlete. Every hour or two all the clothes had to come off and go into the dryer. That meant time for a break to watch TV. This routine would continue until it got too dark to be outside. Kids went home to their respective homes, bone-tired but happy.
We never spent the day doing homework or projects. We probably ate too much junk food, but snow days didn’t happen every day. After dinner and a bath, we were all tired and ready for bed. I was worn out from all the laundry, dishes, entertaining kids and pulling out and putting away all the winter toys. Those years flew by fast, too fast.
My oldest child, Kiki, is now 29 and manages the sale’s force at Conversource. Alex is 26 and a lawyer at Sandberg Phoenix. My niece, Lele is 30 and the mother of year-old Miles. Kiki’s friend, Megan has been married for almost a year and lives just down the street. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you that the memories of a snow day are priceless. They’ll also tell you that time surely DOES FLY and those days were precious.
So, if I can say one thing to the parents out there who are frustrated with the mess and frustration of a snow day it’s this…breathe deep. Cherish the wet clothes, dirty boots, sink full of dishes. These days are the ones they’ll remember. Stay home, forget the homework and relish the wintry freedom. I, for one, am raising a toast to a snow day!