I have a confession. I like snow days. I like them almost as much as the kids do. I know that there are a lot of people out there who don’t agree with me. I’m ready for the hate. But, I really like snow days. I didn’t always feel this way, and I know that I won’t always feel this way, so I’m prepared to hold onto my enthusiasm for a couple more years.
See, here’s how it is. When my older daughter was little, I worked full time at a law firm that required me to be there, whether or not there was snow on the ground. The concept of “working from home” was still pretty much in its infancy and even if it were an option, it most certainly was not one at this firm. The partners said so, repeatedly, mostly to women -- mostly to women who might be thinking of having other children. But that’s for another column.
Snow days back then produced a lot of stress. The kind where you worried how you were going to get the baby safely to daycare and then how you were going to get to work. It was rare that daycare would close when it snowed, but if it did, it meant there was a blizzard, and then regardless of whether the powers-that-be wanted us at our desks, I wasn’t getting there.
Fast forward a couple of years. The girls were now in school, and snow days still caused me stress. The school districts in which I have lived had whimsical views of when and how to schedule a closing. For working parents the waiting can be maddening. While I realize it is no easy feat to decide whether to cancel school, and I would not like to be in that position, being on the scheduling end when you have small children and a full-time job was a stress-filled balancing act that never seemed to get any easier. If school were closed, who would watch the kids if I had meetings that weren’t canceled? If there was a delayed opening, who would get the kids to school if my husband and I still had to get to work on time? On and on the possible permutations would go.
Several years ago, my work situation changed along with my views on snow days. I now have a flexible schedule. I have been able to pick up my daughters from school and take them to after school activities. Having lived in many different worlds, I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity. My older daughter left for college this fall, making me realize even more acutely how fast this time goes by.
So, each time my younger daughter hopes for snow and with it the potential for a day off from school, I secretly (and not so secretly) hope for it, too, because I know that it means we’ll probably spend the day together watching some old TV shows, eating popcorn, and doing our nails. There aren’t many years left before she goes to college. And then, a snow day will just be another day that it snows.
Nancy Klingeman is married to Henry and the mom of two teenage daughters. She is a writer, a lawyer, and an observer of life's daily pageantry.
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