It begins with a whisper. A mere whisper of a rumor. Riding on the coattails of a rising and moaning wind. But it’s enough. Just enough to light a tiny spark of hope against the unrelenting bleakness of a never-ending winter.
However, since nothing is in writing yet, it’s business as usual for the moment. You head up to your room, almost giddy. You haven’t felt this kind of anticipation since Christmas Eve, which feels like an entire lifetime ago. You told yourself you weren’t going to do this but the urge is just too delicious to resist. So as your head hits the pillow, you allow yourself one small maybe. Not likely, no. Slim chance and all that. But…maybe.
Then the what-ifs come quickly galloping in. What if, though? What if it actually happens? All that time, that unstructured time, stretched out before you.
Before you know it, your eyes snap open. A brief moment of confusion in the dark and then you remember. You scramble out of the intricate tangle of blankets. You run to the window and allow yourself one furtive glance outside. A lacy wall of beautiful white battling the dark sky greets your eyes. You give your thumping heart permission for one small leap.
It’s the only time the news is actually relevant to your life. Boring people saying boring things. But underneath them are the slow and sacred scrolling words that could change everything.
Please, PLEASE, you quietly breathe to yourself in the blackness of pre-dawn. Most days you can’t bother to wake up before the sun. But not today. The stakes are too high. You can’t risk missing a moment of this potentially epic day.
You just need a break. From the daily grind. From the expectations. From, let’s face it, life.
Sure, you’re only 8-years-old, but are you not human too?
They’re only up to the B’s. Who knew there were this many places in the world that started with the letter B? You know it will be many, many long minutes before they get to the specific words you are oh-so-desperate to see. Still, you barely allow yourself to blink.
After what feels like a lifetime, and maybe it is (you are only 8 afterall), there they are. Those beautiful, beautiful letters floating past, practically smiling at you.
YOUR SCHOOL: CANCELLED.
A scream escapes your lips and you run around the living room, arms raised above your head, releasing all that pent-up anticipation in a series of feral whoops.
A snow day. SNOW DAY! An entire day off. Just for you. An unexpected holiday gifted to you from the very weather gods themselves.
And to thank them, you promise not to waste a second of this beautiful gift.
Cut to 30 years later. You are now a parent yourself. While making dinner (that, let’s face it, no one is going to eat), you hear it again. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard it, but you could never forget the sound of that whisper. Ten inches predicted overnight. Maybe…
You need this. You need an unexpected day off to remember what’s important. To remember that life is not just one long and mindless march forward, going to the places you are supposed to go and doing the things you are supposed to do. That it isn’t just putting pants on tiny, squirming, resistant legs and hollering at them for the seventh time to brush their teeth because you are going to be LATE FOR SCHOOL. AGAIN.
You allow yourself to look out the window. Nothing yet. You sigh and stir the spaghetti.
Just one day off, you plead to the air. One day off where you aren’t required to do anything. Where you don’t have to get anyone anywhere at any certain time. Where you don’t have to try to stuff wild humans into domesticated clothes and then stuff them into a coat and hat and gloves and then stuff the entire package into the car. Please.
Suddenly your phone dings. Then pings. Then vibrates. An email. Followed by a text. Followed by a voicemail.
YOUR KID’S SCHOOL: CANCELLED.
A bit anticlimactic, sure. Not like the old days. But still, that old feeling of pure joy manages to comes through.
Thank you, weather gods. I promise not to waste a moment of this beautiful gift.
Starting with not bothering to put pants on anyone.