Ode to a Snow Day

Snow day, you beguile us.

You claim “Day off!” and we celebrate with ecstasy and anticipation of joys yet undiscovered.IMG_1454

But we forget the rhythm of a “snow day.”

It begins with an early morning routine too lately interrupted by a joyful automated phone call,

eliciting screams and unusual morning energy in eager children that could have been sleeping for another 2 hours if only the call had occurred a few minutes earlier.

On a normal school day, they would be sitting at the table in a vegetative state.

But not now. They are overcome with Christmas-like enthusiasm. Leaping, cheering, high-fiving.

I am compelled to answer urgent requests for winter gear, undisturbed for 12 months and likely unwearable.

I climb into the attic, still in my jammies and thinking about my warm bed all the while,

sitting on the cold floor, digging through tubs of outerwear,

holding up ski pants, reading the tags, assessing the strap of bibs

and the size of every boot–do I have enough that will fit them?–

I must pull on sweats and hit the roads deemed too dangerous for travel,

racing to Wal-Mart in search of any remaining boots (from the one shipment they received in September)

to shelves empty of bread, milk, and of course, boots–

back home to make do with what we have,

pulling on the children thick socks, ski pants, coats, boots, hats, gloves,

adjusting, zipping, tying, pulling,

all the while debating about color and size and the need for such clothing,

then back in the car on streets already melting under traffic and sun,

with children like stuffed animals in the back seat, complaining about feeling itchy,

to the biggest hill we can find, already criss-crossed with green strips of grass under the sled runs from early risers.

We sled.

We laugh.

We tumble.

We get cold.

We have to use the bathroom. We hold off as long as possible.

Then back home.

Snow gear’s off, puddling on floor and rug, a big heap of wet, heavy clothing and a trail of water,

The kids eat like I’ve never fed them before and settle into games and movies until chaos overtakes them,

and I shoo them back outside,

but not before pulling on socks, ski pants, coats, boots, hats, gloves,

adjusting, zipping, tying, pulling, debating, correcting, and pushing them out the door.

They complain about feeling itchy and shed their hats and coats the moment the front door closes behind them,

making snowmen and rolling in the snow until the green grass smiles in strips like railroad tracks across the yard and

dirt laces Mr. Snowman’s stout physique.

Then a snowball fight ensues,

then tears, a few angry swings, and back inside,

Snow gear’s off, puddling on floor and rug, a big heap of wet, heavy clothing and a trail of brown water.

Red cheeks, runny noses, staticky hair.

Wet clothes come off, dry clothes go on, leaving behind the damp and dirty.

Tired bodies sit quietly on the couch, subdued,

eating fresh cookies and drinking hot chocolate

while I wash and dry bibs and coats and hats and gloves and pants and socks and shirts

and mop up the floors and line up the boots on a big towel in the front hall

and clean up lunch while I try to make dinner

And wipe noses and run baths and clean up dinner and read stories and change the laundry a hundred times and fold it on the dining room table

and tuck children into bed and sink exhausted into my own bed, still unmade,

reveling in the memories

but hoping for school to resume tomorrow.