February 2, 2021 5 mins, 30 secs read
The gift of the snow day
The day started as any other. Alarm goes off at 6am, but I’ve already woken multiple times throughout the early morning mid-thought about something work related. Check Slack from the developer team in India. Check email from the same team. Write back. Get myself together, taking notes on the Post-It pad by the sink about work to-dos as I brush my teeth. Towel off with phone in hand, halfway through the first morning’s IG post. It is not even 6:20am.
But today is a snow day. The first of the year. No school, no childcare, and my husband’s schedule is full with meetings that can’t be postponed. Suddenly, due to an act of God or force majeure, the start to the work week that I had planned to attack with the precision of a surgeon, detailed out in my trusty legal pad in 30-minute increments, was gone.
I am a twin mom and it is a snow day. A mom to 3-year old twins, I should add. And a startup founder to an incredibly complex, community-driven, consumer-tech resale app on a mission to change the world by unlocking the value in our no-longer needed things. We will do this by building the first circular economy marketplace for modern consumers. The mission is audacious; And it is both my passion and my obsession.
It is not lost on me that the type of work I do allows me the extraordinary privilege to take the day off. And I recognize how fortunate I am that on a regular snowless day I have both a husband and caregiver who all help take exceptional care of our family.
Today, my dear, sweet, kind husband has woken up with our twins to spend those waking hours with them as he does on most mornings. “It’s my only time to be with them,” he sighs, steadfast, when I ask him if he’d like a morning off. “I work the rest of the time, and I hardly get to see them otherwise.” I understand, and unequivocally relent. So on this Snow Day morning, with no school or caregiver, I run down the stairs at 8:55am after three harried hours of work for the proverbial passing of the parenting batton with my mind scattered in a million places; the hiring that will be postponed another day, the marketing campaign that I need to approve, the team sync I couldn’t make. How will I get it all done today? When will I steal pockets of time to get back to work? Or will I work and steal time to be with my kids? Wait – did they even eat breakfast? How have they already been awake for 3 hours? How is it only 9am??? All the while on IG tweaking the day’s content as I barrel towards my kids in the kitchen to assume the physical role of “Mom” while the majority of my mind is still clearly back in the office. And then – just as I’m about to take a step into the kitchen, phone still to my face – the godsend hits:
I read it. And reread it. And I let it sink in real deep. It hits me right in the gut and I am nothing short of transformed. It is a message from the The Universe telling me that I have to make a choice between work or kids, and that work will always be there but that childhood will not. And the universe unexpectedly and undeniably determined that my response today was to lean in fully to the quiet, calm, cozy and simultaneously crazy day of complete motherhood. Work was gone. Expectations were off the table. I no longer plowed through the day with the kids just to get to the next thing, or next break at nap for the work call, or bedtime so I could get back to my computer again. Routine was out the window. Appreciation and observation were my every ounce of energy.
I got to know my children today in ways I had never experienced before. Often, due to the scarcity of time, they are a unit. Twins. There’s rarely time for them not to be in this hectic working-mom life that I’ve created. But today, on a day with no routine and no expectations and pure appreciation and observation, they were individuals doing miraculous things and I was their privileged Mommy. While my daughter sat reading her new book, my son sidled into the kitchen and dragged a chair over to the counter where I was preparing a smoothie and he hopped up and joined me. Pride beamed from his eyes as he plopped one berry after the next into the blender. Later, he got a little cut during finger painting. While my daughter sat at the table painting her whole world pink, my son and I climbed up the steps into the bathroom, his heavy boy body in my arms, and I got to wipe his tears and clean his face and brush his mop of hair out of his painty tears before putting his little bandaid on his barely-there scrape. The tenderness of the moment was glorious. When we returned downstairs, my daughter was not at the kitchen table painting and I worried that I’d find her in the living room covering the couch in paint. But she wasn’t in there, either. I found her in the bathroom, on the step stool, washing the pink off all by herself. I marveled at her independence. Lastly, at the end of the day as I made dinner (an act that in and of itself was miraculous for me on a Monday), they reunited in a game of hide-and-seek meets catch while holding helium-filled balloons. As they padded through the kitchen giggling and shrieking with their balloons knocking against everything in sight, for once I embraced the chaos and relished it. By the time it was ready for dinner I had barely noticed that the noise had subsided. And there they were, reading cheek to cheek on the couch, a sliver of their entwined messy hair peeking through the doorway.
It’s not the snow angels or first sleds or little snow suits that make for the memories of a snow day. It’s those interstitial moments born out of the stillness of the snow-covered world that surrounds us, quieting the noise and turning us inward towards the fleeting moments of childhood’s temporary standstill.
That is the gift of a snow day.