The ringing of the phone at 5 am this morning put a smile on my face. I didn’t even care that the call came at such an ungodly hour, because with it’s blaring ring that pulled me out of the depths of a dream, it brought me a delightful gift; a free day. It brought me a snow day.
Because I’m a teacher and a mother, that means that I get to spend the day with my own children instead of someone else’s. I know that I’m lucky that I don’t have to scramble to find childcare when the phone call comes, and I’m grateful for that fact. I consider it a small perk that teachers receive in place of the perks of other professions; like raises, promotions and getting to go to the bathroom whenever you want to. I get snow days and I love every second of them. I get to wear my pajamas and think giddily to myself at 2 pm, “I should be teaching social studies right now,” while I eat popcorn and watch The Wizard of Oz.
Snow days are more enjoyable than other days off, for the sheer reason that they are unexpected and undeserved. It’s like getting flowers from your husband just because it’s Tuesday. On weekends, I feel obligated to take care of the business of life that I can’t get to during the work week. I am compelled to clean, catch up on laundry, work on lesson plans and grading; in short, to get my self in order.
The summer brings a different feeling of obligation. Because we both work full time, my husband and I share the household chores during the school year, but during the summer, we both cut back to one job; for the summer we are Ward and June Cleaver, and the household job is mine alone. My biggest summer job is fending off the “I’m bored” monster that breeds inside of all children and comes out on the second week of break. I am a circus performer and child wrangler; neighborhood watch doesn’t mean crime watch, it means that all of the neighborhood kids are in my backyard and I’m watching them. Summer is wonderful, but carefree it is not.
Oh, but snow days! No one is bored; they are so excited to NOT have to go to school, that they don’t worry about NOT having anything to do at home. Snow days are days that aren’t supposed to exist. It’s like a hole in the time space continuum that we get to hide in for just a little while. It’s hitting the pause button on real life and walking through the room with everyone frozen in place. I feel as if I’ve stolen something wonderful when I get a snow day, and I want to hold it and hide it and keep it just for myself.
On a snow day, I don’t need to follow the rules of responsible adulthood. The only thing I have to do is whatever I want. Reading, sitting, laying on the sofa with my dog, not brushing my hair, or maybe even my teeth if I don’t feel like it; it’s liberating. I feel carefree; eating nothing but cheese for lunch just because I love cheese. I feel like Will Ferrell in Elf when he comes into his father’s office yelling, “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”
I’m in love…with doing whatever I want to do and feeling no shame. I could even talk myself into believing that I’m being a good role model for my children on how to appreciate an unexpected gift.
It’s almost over, my magical unicorn of a day. I think I used it well. I filled it with nothing but the love of nothing, and I don’t care who knows it.