Anatomy of a Snow day

Though I recognize this as a sensitive issue for some parents, I can’t help but shout from the ice covered rooftops how I feel:  I love snow days!

These unexpected bonus days with my kids remind me of our early days together which were devoid of the constant rush that has now invaded all areas of our lives.  On snow days, we are happily stranded; there is nowhere to rush to and no need to worry about missing anything.

It all starts at 7:00 am when it’s time to get up… or is it?  I see the flashing light on the phone and anticipate the good news.  It’s a ring-less message kindly sent by a teacher-friend who learns early of school closures. With no need to fumble with the radio or computer, I’m certain that this messaging feature was developed for just this purpose.

I head toward the kids’ rooms, anxious to share the news.  They are delighted, but temporarily perplexed.  Both are early risers on weekends, when they don’t need to be, and sluggish on weekdays, when there’s a bus to catch.  Their confusion is palpable.  What to do on a snow day?

It’s a tough call, but they remember that a snow day begins with a luxury otherwise reserved for Saturday mornings: TV before breakfast.  They race downstairs, each in a desperate bid to gain control of the remote.

A snow day breakfast is eaten “wander style.”  We read the newspaper and library books between cereal and fruit, and play a game of cards between fruit and coffee, taking full advantage of this extra time.

But this relative quiet time comes to an end as we decide, after much deliberation, to play a Lego board game.  The object is simple: move around the board collecting the blocks needed to build the structure pictured on each player’s card.   When landing on certain squares, we have the opportunity to “steal” bricks from other players.  Surely, you know where this is going.

I ignore the bickering and carry on with the game.  I refuse to become involved unless it gets physical; nobody’s going to deprive me of the glory of being home with my kids at 10:00 am on a weekday!

Apparently this is a good approach, because I’m soon ready to complete my structure and win the game.  Realizing this, the kids quickly join forces and begin making up “rules” that enable them to take my pieces.  It’s endearing when they (ahem) work so well together.

A snow day lunch consists of healthy food that can’t be packed into a lunch box.  We decide on scrambled eggs with lots of fresh vegetables.  …scrambled eggs with some vegetables?  …how about tomatoes?  Ok, plain scrambled eggs with a side of cucumber for Elena, carrots for Nick, the only vegetable each will eat (if we’re lucky) in their lunches, day after day.  Clearly, they are not appreciating this finer point of a snow day.

Soon after lunch, the neighbour kids arrive.  The group of five bands together (sort of like a pack of wolves looking for a meal) and drifts between the two houses, playing a game here, having a snack there.

Realizing with disappointment that the family part of this snow day has ended, I go into the den and turn on the computer (I almost forgot… I have a job).  I cross my fingers as I check the weather forecast for the following day, and the day after that…

originally appeared in the Waterloo Region Record