Without pointing any fingers, I must declare “No fair!” My 7-year-old son has celebrated what seems like endless no-school days this past week, following a mere six inches of snow that fell six days ago. Let me repeat that. Six inches. Six days ago.
And so, of course, I’ve heard my share of “I’m bored” and “There’s nothing to do,” even after I’ve rattled off an extensive list of things to keep him busy. Other parents out there who’ve had this same conversation in recent days, please raise your hand.
Growing up in Nebraska, I walked to and from school in what seemed like six feet of snow for six months out of the year. I’m exaggerating, of course, but these past few days got me thinking. In retrospect, these were character-building years, trudging through all that white stuff in sub-zero temperatures. (I say this with utter hope that my parents’ eyes never see this post.)
On one particularly perilous trip to school, I remember clinging to trees as I carefully navigated icy sidewalks and deep, ice-covered snow. The ice was so thick that I could literally walk on top of the snow without my snow boots punching through. Then, suddenly, one did. And with a jolt, my face took the brunt of my fall against the trunk of the tree. Pulling off my mittens, I could feel the sticky, warm blood. Yet there was little pain.
When I reached the crosswalk attendant, her audible gasp and facial expression told me it was worse than I thought. I couldn’t wait to get home to show my parents. I was prepared to soak up all the sympathy I could get.
My classmates always had their own harrowing tales to tell, as well. Pounding our feet to shake off the snow and bring life back to our frigged toes, we’d pile into our classrooms with stories about snow fights and snowmen, and how unfair it was that one of our classmates who lived at the top of the hill above the school was able to sled to school every day.
So today, when I get an email notification saying “school is canceled due to snow” I roll my eyes, share the “exciting” news with my son, and launch into my “When I was your age, I walked 15 miles uphill, both ways in the snow to get to school” stories, which are met with his rolling eyes.
My boy — who’s currently going through his own “No fair!” phase — will probably never make the “uphill both ways” memories I did as a child, now that we live in Oregon. But as long as he’s building snowmen, having snowball fights and “sledding” through our neighborhood with his dad pulling him on a string, I’m good with that. After all, escaping the extreme conditions of the Midwest is one of the reasons we moved here in the first place.
So for all you parents out there who can relate to no-school days, I feel your pain. But let’s look on the positive side — there are memories to be made.