I am prepared.
I am used to many of my posts being greeted with great warmth and empathy.
“I feel exactly the same way!” I hear.
But I don’t think that this will be that kind of post; it is going to be a different post.
An unpopular post.
And that is OK.
I am writing in support of the snow day today, and, really, in defense of all snow days, whether the call was made wisely due to blizzard-like-conditions, or prematurely, causing great inconvenience.
I am a teacher. I have been the director of programs for children. I am a stay-at-home-mom and the primary caregiver for my kids. I am a writer who works from my house.
I get it.
But first, let me backtrack a bit. Before I was a mother, I was a teacher. I went to graduate school for education, have taught at many age levels and have heard countless (literally countless) complaints about school being closed for snow days.
When parents enroll their children in school, educational or extracurricular programs, they do so because they need to. And when those programs are cancelled because of (impending or falling or fallen) snow, it can cause problems, ranging from inconvenient to nearly impossible.
But, and I say this with all of the compassion in the world, I think that this culture of “OH NO, PLEASE I PRAY THAT MY KID’S SCHOOL DOESN’T CLOSE” has gotten a bit ridiculous. There, I said it. This is part of what is going to make this post unpopular; perhaps, even unappreciated. But, let me explain.
During my first years as a full time teacher, I was not yet a mother, though I longed to be. This is not a subject I have ever broached on this site before, and this is not the post in which I will really be doing so, though it is coming. It took me a bit of time to conceive my first child. I had no diagnosis, no medical problems of which to speak, and I was very young. It just wasn’t happening. And that situation went from inconvenient to nearly impossible.
I have always been a teacher who loved my students as my own and cared for them as such; It was hard when I held children, for whom I cared so deeply, and found myself waiting month after month, facing the constant disappointment of “we will try again next time”. You may have noticed on my sidebar that I have advertised for The Healing Arts Center of Philadelphia since the launch of the new site. This is because, as I have stated time and again, the goal of the advertising on my site is to make peoples’ lives better and that is what Steven Mavros did for me. Much more on Steven and his practice later, as they will be the subject of a whole post (because, really, the story of how we recently went out for a business dinner and I told our waiter, “This is the man who got me pregnant, but no, we have never been together” deserves a post of it’s own, does it not?) but for now, I am just trying to provide context. I wanted to be a mother, but it took some time. And every time a parent would complain to me about how the school had to close for “another school day?” something inside me would hurt.
But I am a compassionate and non-judgmental person. I realized, always, two salient points: that these parents loved their children to no end and that I had no real concept of what it was like to actually be a parent, day in and day out, as my children left me at the end of each school day.
And then, in 2010, I became a mother. For four years, I taught every day while also being the primary caregiver to my daughter. It was a constant juggling act. I had to miss things little things like pediatrician appointments and snuggly sick days, and then bigger things, like her recent camp visiting day when she learned how to swim for the very first time. Again, these things that I missed, they were sometimes inconvenient and other times, nearly impossible.
But enough about the past. Let’s move on to today. Because today is the first day when I have worked up the courage to say this thing that I have been thinking since I was a student teacher nearly a decade ago.
Let me give you some of my perspective:
Today, I have two kids home with me, as I stay at home with my son and my daughter’s school is closed for a snow day.
Today, I had 4 appointments on my calendar, as well as the management of several projects involved in the finishing of our basement. At least one has been delayed so far because of today’s snow, pushing back our deadline (which was originally scheduled for January 5) even further.
Today I had two doctor’s appointments, one for my son that is possibly scary and definitely time sensitive
and one for myself.
I don’t talk about it all the time, but I am still facing major health issues and a dramatic change in my treatment plans.
I also had a business meeting scheduled for a possible partnership that would be extremely exciting for me and even more exciting for you (pinky swear).
I also have a babysitter scheduled for today, but because of the weather and her commute from center city, we had to change her hours to keep her safe (my top priority, no question).
Finally, I have this. This is not only a source of great joy for me (which it is–it so is) but it is also my job. And while I try to tell my daughter to watch my son so that I can publish a quick post, the laptop is like a magnet for a 16 month old whose favorite toys are the Xbox, remote and toilet (read: I cannot type a word when he is in the room, and I can’t leave him alone without him crawling into the oven).
This means that for me, snow days are far from easy. But I love them. I love today. I smiled when I woke at 6:15am to see the email from my daughter’s preschool that they would be closed. I was so excited to tell her that we would be able to stay home together, drinking hot chocolate and making up new games. I love the necklace of beaded hearts that I am wearing, just placed around my neck by my little girl who wanted to make me a special snow day present.
I am discouraged that my son’s appointment with the ophthalmologist has to be postponed;
I am disappointed that I won’t have my coffee date that I was hoping to turn into a partnership;
I get overwhelmed by the juggling act, just like everyone else.
But I am also endlessly grateful. I am so grateful that the people who are in charge of my daughter’s school have decided that her safety (our safety) is paramount;
I am grateful that I can hear my kids whispering from the other room right now as I type (I am hiding the laptop under a blanket) as they hide in their own clubhouse of sorts.
But, most of all, I am grateful that I have the problem of having more juggling pins than I have hands, because that means that my dreams have come true.
I have the resources to get help for my health issues;
I am writing, now, every day;
I am a mother.
So perhaps, instead of scorning the snow day (or me, for writing this unpopular post), you can find a way to celebrate it,
inconveniences, impossibilities and all,
because a snow day that makes life hard means that we have so much.
Appointments can be rescheduled. Personal days can be taken. Things can be figured out. Deadlines can be pushed back
And it is not always easy,
but it is my firm belief that it is always,