It is official: the elementary school is messing with me. I went to bed last night having gotten the call for a 90-minute delay this morning. I was awakened at 5 am by a call that school was cancelled due to “predicted weather conditions.” Do you know what was predicted? 38 degree temperatures, that’s what. Seriously, that’s called a thaw! That’s Nature’s “I love you” card to snowbound mommies with hyperactive kiddos. Now I was (irrationally, illogically, inexplicably) on the hook for figuring out yet another day of entertainment for my wee ones – as well as a nice dinner for my Valentine. Oh, and was I going to get any work done this week? Not a chance.
I tried to fall back asleep, but I was almost too irritated to rest. Yesterday I had planned to write a good deal, but ended up with 12 inches of icy snow, my husband working all day in “our” office, and my own 3 kids plus 2 of the neighbors having a luau in the basement. (Actually, that was pretty awesome. But it didn’t get the pages filled.)
At 6:00, my husband rolled out of bed and went to check on the road conditions. As 2 born-and-bred Midwesterners, we scoffed at the New Jersey school officials who thought of the slushy 1 1/2 inches of snow on the ground as a reason for shutting school. We pulled on boots, coats and gloves and headed out to clear the cars and driveway. (In passing, I told my kindergartner what we were up to. She was settled into the bathroom with a basket of toy ponies and a book – so I knew she’d be in there awhile. The other 2 girls had the good sense to keep sleeping.)
So there I was, fairly P.O.’d with the situation, not really looking forward to my day. Then I started to shovel. This wasn’t the back-breaking, ice-chopping shoveling of the day before – just some wet snow atop slush, easy to move. I noticed that my husband and I are a fantastic team. Without a word, we started attacking the mess from opposite ends of the drive. The rhythmic scrape-swish scrape-swish of our scoop-up-and-toss was in sync as we worked. The neighborhood was silent but for a few other early-morning shovelers (the snow-blower crowd sleeps later, I guess). It lent a feeling of quiet camaraderie to the morning. The sun began to rise, finger-painting gold and flame-orange streaks across the snowy streets and sidewalks. The work warmed me within my fuzzy pajamas and down coat. I was actually enjoying the moment.
And then that slap-happy, kinda-goofy part of my brain (that can’t leave a peaceful moment be) kicked into gear. I was suddenly struck by the thought that this whole week would make a great series of book titles – MagicTreehouse/Jack and Annie style. (You know what I’m talking about. Dinosaurs at Dawn? Moonrise at Midnight? How many hundred has Mary Pope Obsborne written now? It’s awe-inspiring.) Today, of course, was Snow Shovels at Sunrise. Yesterday would have been Slushpiles at Seven. I moved onto White Stuff on Wednesday and Flurries on Friday before I pulled myself back to semi-sanity. This wasn’t helping me organize my mind for the day ahead – but it would make a fun game for the kids later.
It did, too. After getting the girls dressed, opening Valentines cards (With stickers! Yay! Let me stick some on Mommy!) from the grandparents, and heading to Dunkin’ Donuts for heart-shaped cookie-dough flavored donuts (OMG, I could die happy right now), I drove to my youngest daughter’s preschool. (They are the best ever, open come hell or high water. I do not know how I would have made it through the last 3 years without them. I love you, Pam and Kathy!) On the way, we played the new “Brainstorming Titles” game. The girls were cracking up – and so was I – over such silliness as Icicles in my Underwear and Snowplows at Sundown (not to mention Sledding on Saturday and Wet Feet on Wednesday). When we got home, I set the 2 snow-day girls to making stapled-together storybooks based on their favorite titles while I hurried up to the office to dash off this post. I can’t wait to see what they’ve created!
You know, they’ll be making up the snow days at spring break time or in late June. And I’ll be catching up on writing as the days go on. Today, we can make stories (and meatloaf and mashed potatoes!) together. We can thank God for the blessing of being home and warm and happy together. Instead of pulling my hair out at what-I-thought-today-would-be, I’m just going to enjoy it for what-it-is-instead.
And if that isn’t working…well, the neighbors owe me a play date.