Today is a Snow Day. Until we moved to New England I had never heard of Snow Days, but after my first experience I was hooked. On Snow Days, schools are closed, as are some public agencies and businesses. It is very, very quiet–partly because of the heavy blanket of snow but also because people who don’t absolutely need to be somewhere stay inside.
In the late ‘90’s my then school-age sons loved Snow Days and so did I. We would make hot chocolate and popcorn, rent a movie and settle in, absolved of obligations. The peculiar aspect of this is that I could have made any day a Snow Day because I was no longer working “outside the home.” I could do as I damn well pleased almost any time, except I didn’t. Raised at the altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, I feel like I should always be doing something like watching movies in the middle of the day. Except on Snow Days.
Seven years ago, I learned to have snowless Snow Days. Kamiko, our only grandchild, was born in California and I traveled there often to see her. That’s when I remembered how slowly a day with a young child passes. The first few visits, I spent Miss K’s sleeping hours fidgeting or (horrors!) washing dishes. As she got older and more wakeful, I could get her to play with me but there was still that nagging feeling that I should be DOING something. That’s when I realized that my visits with Kamiko were Snow Days. There was nothing more important to do than play with her or read Pat the Bunny. We both enjoyed ourselves and no one showed up at the door to tell me that I should be doing something else with my time. Now, whenever I start to feel anxious that I’m not using my time usefully, I think of Snow Days and give myself a break. Or else I emulate my cat. It’s very satisfying.
NOTE: Happy Birthday to Janet Compiano Alonso, my friend since grade school and the bravest person I knew then. After a scolding by a very cranky teacher, Janet managed to lick her lips in a way that provided deniability but was clearly a way of sticking her tongue out at Sister Mary. A chill ran down my spine as I watched, but Janet got away with it and earned my permanent respect.