Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Snow Day That Shouldn't Have Been

Yesterday was not a fun day.  Or it was.  It depends on how you look at it.

I started my day the same way I start every week day.  Up at 4:45am, prepare my hockey coach husband a cup of coffee to go, start his truck, send him off at 5:00am to hockey practice, then with a hot cup o' Joe for me, sit down at my laptop and have some fun.

I turned on the TV, because even though the most recent snowstorm had blown through on Saturday and I assumed that by Monday morning the roads would be clear and the kids would go to school, I never underestimate the power of the IIC (Idiots In Charge) to cancel school on a whim.  Hmmm…two school districts north of town had already announced closings.  No worries, they are rural areas, probably not plowed yet.  We will have school.  Definitely.

Scuba called me on his way to the rink, said the roads are clear, they will have school.  Definitely.

But the "others" on Facebook disagreed.

The "others" are the hockey moms who also get up long before the sun rises to make sure their hockey players leave on time for practice, then snuggle back into bed with cell phones and tablets to have lively interactions on Facebook.  I also throw my bff Debbie into the "others" category.  She doesn't have a hockey player, she just never sleeps.  One of the most interesting parts of my day is the early morning discussions on Facebook with the "others".

But yesterday, the "others" were being very vocal about wanting a snow day.  I am in the minority among moms who hate snow days.  God made schools for a reason, and kids should go there 5 days a week.  So with caution to push the limits without being offensive, I began a lively banter with the "others" about whether the kids should have a snow day.

A Road in the U.P.
They worry about their teenaged kids driving on slippery roads.  I worry that we are raising a generation of kids who will believe that, even though they live in one of the northern most states in America, a few inches of snow means everything stops.  The "others" wouldn't last a day in the U.P.!

At this point the TV has added a few new announcements at the bottom of the screen.  I started counting school delays and closings, because there are certain rules that the IIC is supposed to follow regarding snow days.  My kids go to Catholic Schools, and the general rule is that 4 other districts in our county have to have a delay or closing in order for us to follow suit.  At this point, the count was 2 closed, 2 delayed, but the city schools were still open, which means we have busses.  So we're still ok.

As the "others" and I continued our argument about whether our kids should go to school, one of the hockey moms posted a comment about something making noise outside her window.  Though Jo was mildly concerned, she did not want to get out of her warm bed to investigate.  I suggested it might be a bear, even though we have no bears this far south in Michigan.  That got her going!

Now another school has announced a closing, and one more delay.  But city schools are still open, and the count was at 3 closings and 3 delays, so we're good.  Surely, we would have school, right?

I offered to drive over to Jo's with my camera to capture her bear in the act, but mostly to prove that the roads in her neighborhood were fine.  She insisted the bus could not drive on her unplowed road.  Wimps.  But it was 1degree outside, and my car had 10 inches of snow piled on it, so I stayed put, eyes glued to the TV.

Our Road
By 6:15, no announcement had been made regarding our schools, so I prepared to wake Bean and get her ready for school.  5 minutes later, they cancelled school.  Really?  But the roads are not that bad.

I was incensed, and took it out on all the "others" who were waiting, wishing, hoping for a snow day.  Two minutes later, Bean sent me a text message from her bedroom asking if she could get up since she already knows school is cancelled.  My day just went down the toilet.

Bean and I went to the grocery store.  I drove her to another town 30 minutes away to play in the snow with a friend.  I ran errands.  The roads were clear, and there was absolutely no reason the kids should have a snow day.  This bothered me so much that I couldn't get past it all day.  Why aren't they in school?  Who makes this decision?  I want answers!

I became so agitated at the spineless, nameless person who is teaching our kids to be lazy and fearful, I finally had to find a way to seek some peace.  I grabbed my camera, and did what I do best; I went outside.

There is something special about being outside right after a snowstorm.  The air is so clear and crisp, everything is blanketed in white, and sounds are muted.  The quiet is complete and all senses are awake.  I walked, I took pictures, I breathed.  I listened, and filled myself with the clean scent, felt the cold air.  It made me feel so alive!  I needed my own snow day, a day to experience the elements of a Michigan winter and remember why I choose to live here.  It helped me to understand that maybe the kids need a snow day, too, not to sit in a stuffy classroom and stare out the window, but to bundle up and go outside to build a snowman, jump in a snowbank, run and play, and nurture a love for nature any time of year.  Bean was off with a friend, staying outside
and laughing, not like a teenager, but like a kid who delights in something as simple as snow.  I was a solitary soul embracing the woods, the wind, the cold, and I found my peace, painted white and waiting for me to leave my footprints in its virgin ground.  When you walk in the snow, you leave a message to Mother Nature that says "I was here".

Later, when I picked Bean up to bring her home, her cheeks were rosy and her eyes were bright.  All the way home, I listened to her excited chatter about what she did outside all day, and she reminded me of…me.  It was a good snow day.

This morning on Facebook, Jo informed me that even though we got an additional inch of snow last night, the kids would have school and her bear did not make a return appearance.  All I had to do was plant the tiniest seed of thought, and I've got Jo snuggled in her bed listening for a bear that could not exist here.  Ain't life grand?

I hope that today, wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you find your moment of peace.  Just go outside, peace is waiting for you.