When they were younger and praying for a snow day did not seem enough of a guarantee, our boys invented their own ritual. Now 16, 15, and 11, and every local news outlet predicted blizzard conditions for the next morning’s commute, it triggered a buzz of excitement. Snow Day.They suddenly weren’t tired. Snow Day.A sparkle in their eyes as they planned their sledding adventure, their snowman, their snowball fight down in the park. Snow Day.
And finally, because the ritual requires that you do it right before heading to bed the night before the storm, they each got a handful of ice cubes and marched together into the bathroom. There, they huddled around the toilet, dropped the ice in, and flushed. Snow Day.
The theory is that the ice will travel below the streets and magically encourage an above-ground freezing that cannot melt or get plowed in time for morning rush hour. School will haveto be cancelled even by the most resistant headmaster or school district.
This time, they were sure, it would work. Snow Day.
Last night, we got almost a foot of snow. The first day of Christmas vacation.
My kids are exhausted. The semester ended with a major poetry project for the seventh grader, high school applications and two tests for the eighth grader. And my third grader has more homework than is developmentally appropriate (not that I have an opinion on that).
They awoke on the first day of the Christmas break ready to chill. But Dad had something else in mind.
“Whoever can tell me the exact temperature when Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same, gets five dollars.”
The seventh and eighth grader worked at the problem in their own ways with their own levels of mathematic learning… pre-breakfast, and they don’t drink coffee. There were tears. But eventually, there was triumph. Both figured it out and got their $5.
There are ski people and snow shovelers.
Ski people are not necessarily skiers. They are merely people who get giddy over snow. They love unpacking their winter gear and pulling on a big, comfy sweater. Their skin still glows despite the dry air that leaves snow shovelers looking twice their age. They celebrate snow days with a big sledding adventure and steaming mugs of hot cocoa. And in Colorado, they are on the slopes for the first run of the day – whooping it up and smiling ear to ear.
I am a snow shoveler. Snow means only that I have to wake up early to dig us out. My mood plummets the day the pool closes from the mere anticipation of the coming cold. Wool makes me itch. My skin cracks. Long walks move from sunny trails to the basement treadmill. The kids get stir crazy. The dog’s wet paws track prints all over our wood floors. And smiling freezes my front teeth.
I wish I could be a ski person. I am surrounded by them. You would hope that their enthusiasm and rosy-cheeked celebration of winter would rub off. But every morning, the snow shoveler in me wakes up wishing it were 80 degrees and I were cheering on the kids at a swim meet, golf tournament or baseball game.
…and it’s only December.