Oh Winter, My Winter
“UGH”, my wife mutters (loudly), prompting me to STOP catching Pokemon and regard her as if I were an adult.
“What’s up?” I ask, one eye on her and one on the shaking Pokeball. My love is infinite but my attention span far less so.
“School is cancelled tomorrow”, and she levels a gaze at me that would make smaller men crumple into even smaller men as rockets of hatred explode from behind her. Cascades of vitriol, sour and bitter, are pouring out of her chakras like fountains. Small crabs and other creatures are swept up in the swelling tide of her frustration.
“Oh, huh”, I say and go back to my game. She leaps across the room, decapitates me, and places my head on a Doc McStuffins’ Brand Head Spike for the world to see; stupid husband, the end.
While my head dripped goo on the carpet, I got to thinking: the snow day is essentially a spectrum, isn’t it? Parents with small children who clamor for attention (like ours) probably hate the snow day. Though my wife works from home, she watches the children, too, which affords her very little time to actually work. Our kids are 2.93 and 4, and they are needy for time, so at the end of the day, I understand my wife’s frustration.
But what about families who don’t have a work at home setup? A snow day is a scramble of finding a baby sitter or calling into work (if that’s even an option). A lot of the time you might have daycare, but the daycare closes, too. I actually work at a college, but we rarely close due to weather, so that offers little reprieve.
I should also point out that it wasn’t a “snow day” that prompted this blog post; it was a “cold day”. The temperature was going to be -5, with a windchill of “get inside the tauntaun, Luke”.
Snow day or cold day, everyone has an opinion on these days off, and thus was born the spectrum.
We Get It, You’re Old
“When I was a kid,” is a phrase that, like a sharp blow to the head, can make you roll your eyes. Every time school is cancelled due to weather they come in droves, finding a post to comment on about how bad it was when they were young. Common thoughts are:
- When I was a kid, they would never cancel school because it was cold. We weren’t pansies like your generation.
- When I was a kid, we walked 4 miles in waist-deep snow just to get a chance to look at some different snow.
- When I was a kid, it snowed all year. It was literally an ice age. I am very old.
I see these posts, or hear it from random people around me, and I get it. I don’t remember schools closing a lot when I was a kid because of the cold. That said, I also don’t remember disco, McCarthyism, or Reaganomics, and that’s because we grow over time and our understanding of what’s “good” changes.
Yes, your parents sent you to wait for the bus in subzero weather and yes, you survived. There are a lot of kids though who don’t have parents who care. There are kids whose parents care, but can’t afford to bundle them up well. There are parents who work 2 jobs who need to drop their kid off at the bus stop an hour beforehand because they can’t afford or don’t have a morning babysitter. Things are different, people are different; shut up Frances.
As a dad, I know that if my kids had to wait for the bus and it was negative eleventy outside, they’d be staying home. That or I’d try to drop them off at school.
But kids in grade and high school like snow days. Surely other people do as well, yeah?
Grinch, Grouch, Grump
Unlike cilantro, I don’t believe that a snow day is a love-it-or-hate-it type of entity, at least not entirely. Where do you fall along this spectrum?
I personally don’t mind them, if I’m able to stay home. My old job essentially never closed, so I had to go to work a few years ago when it snowed 2 feet overnight and the rest of the city was closed. That was idiotic and one of the many reasons I don’t work there anymore.
I understand why some people love snow days – they might get out of work and they can spend time with their kids. My best friend owned a snow plow for a few years and made BANK when it snowed and stuff closed. Yetis eat unattended children if it snows above 18 inches or is under 5 degrees below zero. I get it.
I also understand why some people don’t like snow days. If you have to scramble to take off work or find someone to take care of your kids, that sucks. If you have to walk, bike, or take public transportation to a job that refuses to close, that’s awful. If you struggle to keep your kids warmly dressed in the winter, you’re why we donate warm clothes to coat drives.
But if you just want to talk about how you had to hunt and kill polar bears to keep warm, or how younger generations can’t parent, then consider keeping your wisdom to yourself. Let kids have a day off to enjoy NOT having to stand out in the blizzard or arctic temperatures.
Just, if your kids are going to be home unattended or with minimal supervision all day, maybe keep your eye out for yetis.