Number three son stopped by the house last night. He mentioned visiting my blog earlier in the day and liking 10 Awesome Things About Being a Kid, as well as its follow up, 10 Awesome Things: A Response.
“But you should have added snow days. You know — how when you’re a kid, snow days are just awesome?”
I agreed: snow days are pretty awesome when you’re a kid.
“I mean, think about it: you don’t have to go to school, you get to drink hot chocolate and play outside in the snow! It’s just cool!”
“Yep,” I nodded.
“But…,” he went on, “when you’re an adult, snow days are totally different. You’ve got the driveway and sidewalks to shovel, vehicles to clear off, then driving through the stuff to go to work or school, or whatever. You don’t get to stay home. Definitely not the same experience.”
After he left, I started to reminisce about snow days when I was a kid.
Ah, yes. All one of them.
Seriously. I can only remember one. And I’m not even sure it was a snow day. I can’t actually recall anyone saying “snow day” or “school is closed”. But all the neighborhood kids were home too, and I don’t remember Dad being home, which is a good indicator it was a week day, not the weekend. But who knows.
What I do remember was the big ordeal that it was to gather all the sweaters, coats, gloves, mufflers, scarves, earmuffs, caps, extra pants, extra socks, boots, etc. One by one, Mom helped stuff us into all that gear — like little sausages — and then closed the back door behind us as we waddled down the steps and out into the winter wonderland.
Oh, the feel of snowflakes landing on the nose and cheeks! The “clouds” that appeared with each warm exhale! (“Look, look! I’m smoking!) The layers upon layers of frosty white wonderfulness that bid us frolic!
We made snow angels and a snowman. (Knock, knock, knock… Mom, can we have a carrot for a nose?) Then my brother suggested we build a fort behind which we could stockpile an obscene supply of snowballs and create for ourselves an impenetrable defense against a heavy enemy attack. We slaved away, building and stockpiling. I pitied the fool who might mindlessly wander within our range.
Once we finished, we huddled behind our barricade and waited. And waited. And waited some more. No one came. I guess the other kids were huddled in their own forts, waiting for us to stumble along.
We got cold. But we stuck it out and waited some more. After all, we had built a totally imposing fort which was worth holding out to defend. And we definitely had the ammo. But eventually, our fingers would threaten to become icicles and drive us indoors. Without having thrown hardly a snowball, as I recall. Sigh.
Mom spread out layers of newspaper in the mudroom to handle the mound of soggy outerwear. Then we changed into warm, dry clothes and had something hot to eat — Campbell’s chicken noodle soup being pretty standard fare back in the day. I honestly don’t remember if we went back outside that day or not. But I do have a hazy recollection that it took way more than a few days for the fort to melt. Heh heh.
Fast forward to snow days as an adult. (I can even remember more than just one!)
There have been a few snow days due to blizzard conditions or icy conditions, during which no one — kid or adult — ventured outside. But there have also been plenty of snow days that pretty much followed the same pattern as that snow day of my childhood: Mom helping kids locate coats, gloves, mufflers, ski masks, long johns, snow pants, boots, etc.; stuffing the sausage casings; scuttling them out the back door; then sitting down with a mug of coffee and a magazine, only to have them knocking on the back door minutes later. These gloves have a hole in them… Can we make snow cones? We need a carrot for our snowman…
During the process, I generally made an attempt to press a measure of snow removal service from the kids while they played. As they got older it became a badge of honor to get the entire driveway cleared before Dad came home.
And invariably, in about an hour, the gang would be back inside, all changed into cozy sweats, wet duds tumbling in the dryer. I’d make hot cocoa (but never seemed to have those little marshmallows on hand — drat!) and they’d settle in for some reruns, a movie, or a board game.
Yup. Snow days are pretty awesome when you’re a kid.