Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snow Days...

Now I am sure that most anyone who grew up and attended school in the NorthEast knows about snow days. Here in the central part of Maryland a snow day is called for any amount of, or prediction of possible accumulation of snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain. Today is Day 2 of Ice Days for my children- and those living anywhere in the state except on the Eastern Shore. So, my floors are covered with melting salty slush and the kitchen is a mess of cocoa mugs, chocolate syrup and sandwiches. Every time I turn around there is a fresh pile of wet, grimy socks, gloves, hats and boots by the front door.
As I grumble under my breath yet again to children who have already dashed back out to play in the snowy/icy mix that in summer months is known as "the front lawn" I am reminded of the snow days of my childhood.
One such snow day my best friend and I found ourselves walking for hours through our neighborhood over snow-quieted streets. We had lived in this same place for all of our 12 years and knew every street and backyard like our own. We walked to the 7-11 and bought Slurpees and chocolate bars; we walked to her boyfriend's house and hung out for a while; we walked to the elementary school where everyone was sledding down the big hill behind the school that emptied out by the community pool. We had a blast! We fell into bed exhausted, with wind-chapped cheeks and sunburned lips and we were thrilled to hear that the next day would be a snow day too! Oh the plans we made on the phone at 10pm after the evening news was broadcast! It was no longer a school night so we could stay up late and talk on the phone, sneak late night snacks and plan our walking tour of the nieghborhood for the next day. It was exciting and so much fun...
As I turn to the newly shed pile of wet, smelly woolens that have once agained appeared by the front door; as I carry the freshly laundered, clean and warm replacement socks, gloves and hats and drop them into their bin in the front closet, I do remember and bite back the grumpy response on the tip of my tongue, grab the mop and once again wipe up the slushy, salty foot prints. I remember what it is like to be a child again, to have an unexpected free day from school and responsibilities of homework and reading assignments, to have an imagination that can turn the snowscape of an ordinary front yard into a winter wonderland full of magical winter creatures like ice princesses and snow faeries...
The kids are out to play once again, with their freshly laundered woolens and stomachs full of hot cocoa and sandwiches and full imaginations. I return to the work of being "Mom" and I think that things are as they should be. Even now my children are gathering their own memories to be taken out and visited many long years from now, just as I have visited mine.
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