As I write this, temperatures in the Kansas City metro area continue to hover below freezing, with traces of snow lingering like an unwelcome dinner guest who failed to bring a bottle of wine to your party.
Throughout the winter months, as snow and ice have pelted the Midwest, it’s been easy to reflect on all we’ve lost these past couple of years. But let’s not forget what our children have lost, too – chief among them, the joy that a snow day off from school would inevitably bring.
You know you remember the feeling well – those evenings in the dead of winter during your childhood when you discussed the next day’s weather forecast with your parents – them, with a sigh of quiet resignation, and you, in a voice heavy with unbridled glee and a dash of hope that maybe, enough snow would fall overnight to keep you home from school.
The next morning, having barely slept at all due to your rising levels of excitement and anticipation, you threw open your curtains to marvel at the work Mother Nature had done while you lie in your bed. Beautiful snow, blanketing the ground, heavy, wet, glistening, and a gorgeous temporary road block on your path to education.
Oh please, oh please, oh please, you exhale, running downstairs to watch the local news, normally a boring part of your parents’ daily routine but today, your oracle of (hopefully) good fortune. Your mother is already in front of the TV, coffee mug in hand, and you join her, watching the crawl at the bottom of the screen as it lists off area school closures in alphabetical order.
And then you see it – your school!
You squeal with delight, shouting “YEEEESSSSS!” and pumping your small fists in the air. Then, it’s off to your landline phone to call your friends to make plans so your precious snow day isn’t wasted. Maybe you’ll build a snowman or go sledding. Maybe you’ll have a good-natured snowball fight.
Maybe you’ll stay in to watch TV or play games. Maybe you’ll just play it by ear. You don’t even notice your mother collapsing into her kitchen chair, already making plans to ensure Dad shovels the driveway.
Now, in the age of remote working and learning, it seems that the joy of snow days have become a thing of the past, thanks to technology (which is great, until it means you have the ability to be available to anyone at any time). Living in the most connected era in human history does have its drawbacks, it appears.
Be glad and relieved that you have those cherished memories of the lazy days of winter without a homework assignment or pop quiz to make your mind swim with worry. And mourn their loss for your children and grandchildren, who will likely never be able to share in that joy, thanks to the dual blessing and curse of virtual learning.
But enough rumination – who’s up for a good, old-fashioned snowball fight?