Thursday, January 10, 2019

Anatomy of a Snow Day

There was little better as a kid during winter than waking up on a snowy day and learning school would be cancelled. Of course, during my school years, that meant rising at the regular early hour and turning the T.V. to the local station to stare at the list of delays and cancellations scrolling up the screen, hoping to see my school there.

If it was, the day unfolded happily in my mind. Extra time in PJs. Reading by the fire. Sledding with friends. Wet mittens, hot cocoa, rosy cheeks.

My kids feel the same sort of snow day joy, although they don’t have to stare at the television to find out if school is off. Now, we receive the message in multiple ways – by text, email, phone call. And a snow day often means a powder day at the mountain, which makes all of us happy.

Here’s what a snow day looks like from this snow-loving mom’s perspective.

4:45 a.m.: Wake up and turn phone on to see if school has been delayed. No text. Lie in the dark, partly trying to go back to sleep, but mostly wondering when the text will come in.

5:16 a.m.: Phone buzzes with two-hour school delay message from superintendent, followed one minute later by house phone ringing with two-hour delay message, then cell phone call with same message.

5:18 a.m.: Check WMUR website to see what other schools are delayed. Notice some have already called a full snow day. Wonder about the likelihood of that happening here.

5:30 a.m.: Give up trying to sleep. Get up, turn coffee maker on, head to office and attempt to meet the day’s deadlines before the kids wake up. Continue to be distracted by the chance that school will be canceled.

6:47 a.m.: Check online snow report for the mountain to see if it’s worth calling a family snow day, despite what school is – or is not – doing. Report not updated. Resume attempts to work.

6:55 a.m.: Check snow report again. No dice. Repeat above attempt to work.

6:56 a.m.: Receive email from school regarding breakfast for students. Assume this is a sign that school will not be cancelled. Feel a little sad.

6:59 a.m.: Bedroom door squeaks as first kid emerges and creeps up to the office to confirm school is delayed. Check snow report again. No dice. Back to work.

7:02 a.m.: Repeat above step with second kid to wake up. Both go downstairs to enjoy the no-rush morning.

7:08 a.m.: Look up from keyboard and notice it’s finally light enough to see outside. It’s dumping. Heart is happy. Seriously dumping. Check snow report again. Still not updated. What the heck?!?

7:13 a.m.: Phone buzzes with text that school is cancelled (and house phone rings, and cell phone rings). Hooray! Feel kind of like a kid. Also, happy that now I don’t have to make the call about a family powder day.

7:14 a.m.: Kid number three emerges from her room and finds me. We celebrate the snow day with a happy hug. Check snow report. Still nothing. Doesn’t matter, I bet we’ll ski.

7:35 a.m.: Give up trying to work – for now. Time to make breakfast, and a plan.

8:45 a.m.: Breakfast done. Dishes done. Ski boots on. Skis in car. Kids in car. Head to the mountain.

9:02 a.m.: Pull into ski area, a few minutes late for first chair.

9:14 a.m.: Slide off chair at the top. Goggles down, hood up. Push down the hill, slide through powder, yee-haw as snow poofs up with each turn, watch the kids weave down the trail, laughing all the way. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

Original content by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul, posted to her blog, Writings From a Full Life. This essay also appears as Meghan's Close to Home column in the January 11, 2019 issue of the Littleton Record.