Spring keeps sending her occasional flirtations, but we’re not out of the wintry woods just yet. Both the groundhog and the Old Farmer agree that winter’s talons still hold a firm grasp. For those of you with kids in school, you know this means the next couple months are still ripe with potential snow days. And while kids cheer at their school name scrolling underneath the local news anchor, you may feel as if you’ll be swallowed by the expansive eight-hour void of formerly school-filled time. But it need not be as vacuous as it sounds.
Copy a page out of our snow day story, and fill a few of your own; they’ll end up being some of the better chapters to remember.
The storm prowls closer as we watch the radar. That night, angry gusts grab the house with their frozen fingers, shoving and twisting while the timbers groan. By morning, it has bullied the town out of school and our kids out of their beds and into ours.
We wake up overtaken by a sprawling heap of little arms, legs, and blankies. Soon the kitchen fills with the late morning smells of gas-heated cast iron, crackling butter, and warm maple syrup. The house is a cocoon wrapped in snow drifts.
After breakfast, it’s time to venture outside. Their bellies full of pancakes, the kids charge out, diving into the snowbanks. I breathe the sharp silvery air into my nose. It jerks the lazy machinery of
my mind into rhythm.
Katie and I knowingly glance at the driveway then each other, silently agreeing to get a snowblower. Next year. For now, we plunge our shovels in. The kids bike circles around us (or at least attempt to) and erratically hurtle into the snow.
We trudge inside, crunchy wet snow barnacled wherever it could stick to us. I wait outside for a moment, taking in the immense blanketed silence. Reminding me, it’s a good day to be here now together.
The kids huddle over the floral steam rising from their mugs of tea. They swing their legs and watch a fortress rise from the pillows and blankets in the living room. A few quick gulps later, they are setting up a full restaurant for stuffed animals inside it. Aurora starts sulking about her unfair portion of food, but in the end, I know they’re having a good time.
A few rounds of ‘head, body, legs’ (the drawing game also known as ‘picture consequences’ or ‘exquisite corpse’ …just Google it) has everyone in uniformly good spirits. Liam decides to show off his kindergarten reading skills to Aurora, and she reciprocates, attempting to read the books by memory. I relax and savor their literary connection, both of them blithely ignorant of their recent quarrels.
The rest of the day saunters on like any other. Maybe some laundry, some dinner, baths, though something imbues a golden tint to it. Maybe our eyes are still adjusting from the silver-blue snow. Maybe there’s a certain magic hiding in our homes we only notice after shaking off routine. In either case, the words of Annie Dillard ring in my ears. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And this was a day well spent.