I’ve always loved snow. My husband, John, says it’s because I’m a teacher and I am always hoping it will bring the magical snow day. So, last night, when the forecast for snow, 100% chance, scrolled across the bottom of the TV screen, he pondered aloud, “Bet you won’t be so excited about the snow this year…now that you’re retired.”
Old habits die hard, I guess. I peeked out the window several times during the night. At about 5:45 am, I saw branches laden with snow outside my window. Experience told me that it wasn’t enough snow for a snow day. The snow had stopped falling, too. Another bad sign if you’re hoping for a snow day. Still, I couldn’t fall back to sleep, even for 15 minutes. Here was my mental shortlist of five things to be grateful for on this snowy morning:
1. No driving in rush hour traffic, while listening in vain to the school closings that were inevitably not going to be mine.
2. A chance to live a ,”someday that will be me,” dream…..a few years back, a recently retired teacher sent an email to those of us who had just plowed our way through a horrendous snowy commute, saying she was having a cup of hot tea, still in her pajamas, loving every moment of retirement.
3. A chance to bundle up Sophie, my almost-2 year old, granddaughter and play. I had planned to take her to preschool open gym at the rec center, but this snow opportunity trumped that plan.
4. A chance to reread favorite books with a cup of hot chocolate…
5. A morning walk. As I cleaned my car and listened to the radio traffic reports for 35 years of winters, I dreamed of this one thing….a morning walk.
Funny thing is, nothing has made me miss my teaching days as much as a picture in a recent blog I read. I can’t find it to give credit to the blog post, but it showed kids looking out the window at a first snowfall. I loved those days! I loved making them special…making hot chocolate during independent reading, letting kids leave slippers in their cubbies for days when it snowed and every other school district was out, making paper snowflakes and taping them to our windows, reading a special read aloud like Snow Day, celebrating the unbridled passion my kids and I shared for those magical white crystals that blanketed the world in beauty.
So, as I crawled through the space in the fence behind my house that leads to the field and woods, it was like entering Narnia. My own magical world. Bundled in boots and Gortex, I tried to follow the path I always took, but a fallen tree blocked the path and I had to find a new path. A metaphor, I thought, for my life right now. I sat on the fallen tree, listening to the muffled sounds of this newly blanketed world and staring at the exquisite barren branches, heavy with snow, that created art no man could duplicate. I thought about how lucky I was to have this time. The possibilities of new snow day traditions abounded. I had a little snow globe and a Daniel Tiger book for Sophie, my little granddaughter, hidden in the closet for Christmas….a gift from the snow fairy? Why not? Paper snowflakes cut and taped to all the windows? She’d love it. Of course, a building a snowman followed by hot chocolate. Read alouds…I knew right where Raymond Brigg’s Snowman was. Music and dancing? Hmmm….that Frozen CD with the song, “Do You Want to Build A Snowman?” Oh, and a little baking, maybe? Yes, those handy new gingerbread dough sheets I founf at the grocery.
I stared in wonder at the blank slate, the world of white, untouched and ready for me to make my mark on it. What a gift….time, space, a chance to play, and create, and dance, love and learn and share my love of snow with a child.
Yes, John, I still love snow days. Maybe because I’m a teacher. Or, maybe , just maybe, I’m a teacher because I see the wonder in snow and want to share it with my little soul mates. Snow days will continue to stir my longing to play….but now I don’t have to wait for a telephone call to grant me an “official” snow day. They’ll just fall from the skies, like a gift from the heavens.