Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lessons From a Snow Day

Just off yet another snow day -- the kids have missed more than a week of school in days off and delays so far. While it was fun in the beginning, now the rearranged schedules, cancelled appointments and makeup homework have gotten kind of old. Nonetheless, I tried really hard to make the most of it yesterday, and I think I did a pretty good job of turning my frown upside down. Even if it wasn’t the last snow day of the year (oh please let it be the last), it won’t stay winter forever. And my kids won’t stay young forever. Here are a few really good things I thought about snow days:

1.       Forced to live in the moment. Plans are out the window, the schedule I’d penciled in next to a lengthy to-do list isn’t going to happen. I find myself with four kids in the house, counting the neighbors, and I just gotta go with it. It’s an attitude I try for daily, but usually ends up overrun by the things I have to do, the places I have to be. Today, there is no being stuck in my head.  
2.       Priorities become clear. Dangerous roads and having the kids at home are great excuses to clear the schedule of things I don’t really want to do – such as a stressful appointment to work out a kitchen remodel on a tight budget. Sometimes, you can’t do the things you really want to do either – like getting that appointment over with and moving forward on the kitchen remodel. But I did get to the Y to swim laps – the kids came along, too. Everyone was happy.
3.        We get to sample homeschooling, the good and the bad. My friends who homeschool their children are my heroes, and I toy with the idea from time to time. Having the kids at home, working together with Legos and putting together a crystal making kit are the kinds of wonderful learning experiences we don’t always have time for with regular school work. But then everything devolves into chaos and no one is listening to my suggestions that we not crash the complex Lego creations into each other, and Legos are everywhere, someone is crying and I want to hide in the closet with a box of Valentine chocolate. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be very good at homeschooling.
4.       Outside, outside, outside. Getting to play in the snow almost goes without saying. In my family on a snow day, it also goes without saying that my husband or I will be playing in the snow with our kids.

5.       Enjoy the beauty of winter. A friend of mine recently came inside on a bitter cold day, her breath puffing white around her, and said with a smile that it was a beautiful day. She said she’d started feeling down about the weather and instead took notice of the ice and the way the light reflects in the snow, how different it was from anything else. She inspired me the next day to lie back in the snow with my youngest and look up at the sky. Giant spiky flakes were falling through the ragged lines of a thorny berry tree. I would never have seen that otherwise. In North America, winter is waning. Watch it while we can.