Yesterday was our first snow day of the year — a small storm, but just big enough to bring all activity to a halt in lower Fairfield County. My Jazzercise class was canceled; lunch with a friend got postponed, and I found my heart singing a bit at the idea that I could spend the day in my slippers and sweats — no makeup, no hair products.
Naturally, the feeling is rooted in childhood, when “snow day” meant a day of outdoor play capped off with home-baked cookies and cocoa by the fire as we thawed.
Unlike Basil and Catherine, who pine for the heat and sun, I like winter. I love the chance to nest at home and don’t mind the cold.
When I was a kid, my younger sister, Traci, and I had great times sledding on the huge hill in the park across the street from our house.
Well, except maybe twice:
- The time my mother convinced me to aim my flying saucer for the “bump” that turned out to be a rock outcropping; and
- The time Traci crashed head-on into a tree at the bottom of the hill. I wasn’t ready to go inside just then, so I hissed at her to stop crying and keep sledding. (Yes, I caught hell for it later)
I also have fond memories of building snow forts, trying to make a snowman, attempting to ice skate, etc.
Mom remembers it all differently. It seems she spent eons bundling us up and sending us out in the white stuff only to find us at the door a few minutes later to use the bathroom.
It was a routine I repeated with a pint-sized Catherine — all decked out in her Land’s End snow gear only to make three snow angels, attempt to throw one snowball, then beg to go back inside. We did, however, make some spectacular colored ice sculptures and a fabulous snowman when she got a little older, and she and I tore up the snow hill at North Mianus School several years running.
I was thinking of all this yesterday afternoon as I scrubbed the kitchen sink, after doing some laundry, dusting the furniture, vacuuming the house, starting the week’s grocery list and generally taking stock of what needed attention after my week away. Through the window, I spied the 9-month-old twins who live behind us, snug in their pink snowsuits while their mom pulled them in a sled all around the back yard.
The sight made me smile — and got me thinking: Somewhere along the way “snow day” became synonymous with “how many chores and tasks can I cross off the to-do list?”
Somehow there is no longer time for sledding or snowman-making, skating or snow fort-building.
I had a cup of cocoa anyway.