When the news comes that Metro schools will be closed for a fourth day, my 6-year-old daughter squeals. "YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!" she shrieks with the kind of frenetic energy that would remind one of Alvin the Chipmunk on meth. "This is the BEST! WEEK! EVER!!"
As for me? I am curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth and drooling. Another snow day? ANOTHER SNOW DAY? Calgon. Take me away.
Of course, it didn't start out this way. It never does. The first snow day off from school is kind of like an official holiday, complete with its own time-honored traditions. On that joyous day last week, I woke early and enjoyed a steaming cup of coffee at the kitchen table while gazing at what had become a lovely winter wonderland outside our window. Soon the kids came tumbling down the stairs in great excitement. "It snowed!" they cried. "Mommy! Daddy! It snowed!"
In honor of the occasion, I made steaming hot biscuits! And we all stayed in our pajamas as long as we wanted! Later, we met up with friends at the top of the tallest hill in our neighborhood and spent a few hours sledding! Next, we built a snowman! Then we came home for some hot chocolate! And then? Miracle of miracles, both kids fell asleep! For three blissful hours! That night, Hubs lit a fire in the fireplace and we all snuggled up together in a cozy nest on the sofa! Hooray for snow days!
By Snow Day No. 2, the novelty had worn off a bit and most of the neighborhood kids had been shuttled off to friends' and relatives' houses so that their parents could go back to work — but I still tried to make the best of it with my 3- and 6-year-olds at home. I baked cookies! We watched movies! We went sledding! We had a snowball fight! We made crafts! The kids didn't nap! The kids argued! The kids screamed! The kids whined! The kids complained that they were bored! I got a migraine! I put the kids to bed early! I drank a lot of wine!
Snow Day No. 3? Let's just say it wasn't one of my better parenting moments. Good times had given way to complete pandemonium. The kids bickered over everything from what to watch on television to whether or not there was such thing as a purple Power Ranger. Woefully behind on writing assignments, I tried — and failed — to get work done. The house looked like a war zone. A chocolate milk explosion in the den and dried boogers smeared on the walls in combination with a blaring television and screaming kids brought me to my breaking point. In desperation, I called Hubs.
"I can't take it anymore!" I whimpered. "When the hell are they going back to school?!"
My husband wasn't very sympathetic. "They need a break," he said. "Punky has too much school as it is." "I know, but normally when she's off, I have plans for her!" I said. "We go places. I have my work done in advance. This? This is torture! There's nothing to do! Nowhere to go! I have work I've GOT to get done!"
"Well, I'm sure they'll be back at school tomorrow," Hubs said. "The roads are completely clear."
And with that, a ray of sunlight shone through the dark clouds of my psyche. School. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, there would be school. SCHOOL! The word had never sounded so glorious!
For the next couple of hours, I was a veritable Mary Poppins with my kids. Because tomorrow! There would be school! Therefore, I could handle TODAY! Because tomorrow? SCHOOL! SCHOOL, SCHOOL, SCHOOL!!
And then Metro had to go and cancel it. Again. And Punky squealed. And I drooled in the corner.
Yes, I had a breakdown moment, one that I'm quite certain was shared by thousands of mothers across Davidson County. But then I picked myself up off the floor and decided to take action. I got on Twitter and sent a very polite, well-thought-out public message to @metroschools. It went like this:
ARE YOU TRYING TO DRIVE ME OUT OF MY MIND?!!
For its part, Metro had anticipated my rancor. It already had a message up on its website, explaining to all the frazzled parents out there why school had been called off. There was something about a snow patrol and lots of people talking to each other about the weather and blah blah blah. But they didn't fool me. I was still 99 percent certain that the decision was made by some childless "official" guy, who was currently sitting in front of his DirectTV, drinking a Pabst and enjoying his extended snowcation.
Well I've got news for you, Metro. The snow may have disappeared, but rest assured that our memories of last week have definitely not.
The next time you're tempted to cancel school across the district because Bumblepodunk Lane in Joelton has an ice patch? Call me instead.
I'll drive over there and bring those kids in to school myself.
Read more Suburban Turmoil at www.suburbanturmoil.com.
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