Top Ten: Moments from Snowpalooza 2014

Posted by | January 22, 2014 | BAMBINOS | 10 Comments

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I am now starting the recovery process after an unexpected 5-day string of days at home with the bambinos. Between the weekend, then the MLK holiday, and then two snow days, it has been a long-haul of unplanned-for downtime. We had purposefully planned a “do nothing” long weekend, but the added two days tacked onto the end really pushed us (well, mainly me) over the edge.

Due to a major work event that Braydon had going on, the past 48 hours has involved me taking it for the team, canceling basically everything on my calendar in order to be home with the kiddos, and doing it entirely on my own. Our family doesn’t do very well cooped up inside all day, let alone cooped up inside all day with lots of unforeseen unstructured time on our hands. And there is not much more blood-pressure-raising for me than trying to hold down the home-front while also plugging away at my laptop in a desperate attempt to keep the home-and-work balls all up in the air. I can do home. And I can do work. But I really struggle with doing them both at once on a snow day.

Here are my Top Ten Moments from this little stretch of bleak midwinter—

That moment when…

  1. …that phone call came at 5:45am Tuesday saying that school was cancelled… the sinking knowing feeling of the ramifications and ripple effect of those calls are hard to describe… and then… ditto and deja vu all over again for Wednesday morning… All I could think was, “Holy heck! How on earth am I going to get through this?!”
  2. …Owen spilled a whole, brand-new, previously-unopened, full jug of milk all over the kitchen, and then, as it was dripping all over the counter and down onto the floor, tried to convince me that it would be perfectly reasonable for him to lick it up (!!!) so that it “won’t be wasted!” (Oh, dear God!)
  3. …Meera spilled her entire, brand new, box of 96 Crayola crayons — yes, a ninety-six pack — all over the family room, and then announced to me with total sincerity, as I began to help her collect the crayons from all over the coffee table and the floor, that they had to go back into the original box “exactly in order!” (Oh, dear God!)
  4. …Kyle used the f-word… yes, the f-word (I could not believe it!!!!)… twice… yes, twice!… and I had to send him to his room, and then reprimand him harshly… and when I asked him if he even knew what that word means, he explained to me in no uncertain terms that it means “another word for funky, you know, like strange” (Oh, dear God!)
  5. …I psyched myself up, rallied, and told the bambinos that we were going to go outside to “enjoy the snow!” and “go sledding!”… but when we got out there, it was so frigid cold and blustery and windy, and the windchill factor was so extreme, that I become truly convinced that we were all going to get frostbite on our faces, and I pretty promptly announced that we had to go back in… and then I realized… that… the entire operation of getting them into-and-out-of their snow gear took easily twice as much time as the time spent actually in the snow.
  6. …I hit that saturation point after a few too many emails and texts and voicemails from female colleagues/working mothers (all in correspondence related to my massive project of attempting-to-reschedule-all-calendared-events-for the-past-two-days) mentioned things along the lines of, “I don’t know how you do it because I could NEVER do it without my mother!” and “It is days like today that I’m most grateful to have my mom right here!” and “I am just so grateful I’ve got my mother to pick up my slack, or else I’d be a goner!”… and I seriously thought I was going to die a long slow painful death of career-mama-on-a-snow-day-with-no-extended-family-around-to-fall-back-on… and I had to swallow hard to be a big girl (and remind myself of the truth: that I’m not jealous of them, I’m just envious of them)… and I used all my might to not fall apart right then and there.
  7. …I discovered that Dash had partially destroyed Meera’s beloved Tooth Fairy gift — a tiny Polly Pocket toy (that she had just gotfrom her first lost tooth — just this morning), and I had to work extremely hard to keep from crying pitiful tears of utter resignation, as I Duct Taped the thing back together with the world’s tiniest slices of Duct Tape on the world’s tiniest plastic Polly Pocket backpack… all before I had even had my first cup of coffee.
  8. …in the middle of playing yet another round of Chutes and Ladders (we played it a God-awful number of times), I had the brilliant realization that I had made a terribly horrible mistake: Chutes and Ladders most definitely should have gone into the massive “To Donate” pile in the midst of our move a year-and-a-half-ago… because… if only it had… then the kids would probably have never even realized it was gone, and I wouldn’t have to be playing this God-awful game (a game that I’ve always hated) yet again… oh, and I should have gotten rid of the game Fibber too (another one I hate, and which we played a God-awful number of times over the past two days).
  9. …I finally broke down crying, a sobbing hot mess, on Tuesday night, after the kids were finally in bed… because I was finally sitting under a blanket on the couch, bleary eyed and in some sort of state of exhaustive shock, having just taken my first sip of wine, only to see the lengthy list of school cancellations hitting for the next day all over Facebook.
  10. …I was cleaning up the spin-art project… and realized that — just like so many of these things — the set-up and the clean-up take a lot more time than the actual spinning-of-the-art.

But, then there was tonight, when I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the kids and I were eating Chinese delivery and watching the (ridiculous) movie Mulan II, and I thought to myself, “Holy heck! I actually got through this?!”

And there were many other moments too. Lots and lots of them, when things went really swell. Moments when I was supremely grateful for a career that affords tremendous flexibility, and a safe secure home with loads of heat and hot water, and three healthy happy (albeit very rambunctious) kids. The list above is a bunch of pathetic First World Problems. That is for sure. Another thing that is for sure is this: I know I’ll look back on these days and wish I could do them all over again — not as a way to re-do things to make up for regrets (hopefully), but rather to have the chance to do them again because of how purely sweetly special these God-awful days actually are. I want to remember the good and the bad all wrapped up together.

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10 Comments

  • Karen Vitek says:

    I know you were crying at the end of this ordeal but it did remind me of what it was like when my two were younger. They were about Kyle and Owen’s age and it was a snow day. I desperately needed to get my budget for school done. When Victor was leaving the house the kids had asked him for a large box. They were going to make a maze for Kristina’s hamster. I was so amazed at how quiet they were just outside the door to my room. Much later when I finished and went to check on them I saw a terrified hamster in this elaborate cardboard fun house! And loads of art supplies all over the floor! Now snow days are much quieter but not nearly as interesting!

  • Carmen says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am right there with you. My children’s school is canceled, but my work from home is not. Thankfully my husband is home (at the moment), and I am hiding in our bedroom trying to get my work done (but wait, I am reading your blog:))

  • Candis Gillett says:

    Oh my. I flinched through every item on your list. Kids–’ya love ‘em and want to pummel them at the same time. When my two nephews (8 and 5) and my son (9) are together, I just go the the happy place in my mind while they terrorize each other, throw socks and Hot Wheels everywhere and yell “Bee-do” & “Are we there yet?” for the 90th time on the way to McDonalds.

    You also wrote: “Another thing that is for sure is this: I know I’ll look back on these days and wish I could do them all over again…” Mmmmm… nope. We are in our fifties, having reared two (in their early thirties now), then started over. I can tell you unequivocally that while the memories (long past and recent) are vivid and warm, I didn’t like the insanity then, and don’t like it now. I believe children are best as adults–can’t wait for this one to get there. Best wishes for a more moderate snow season ;-). You’re a good mama.

  • Stacey says:

    I too am envious of friends with mothers nearby. It is really hard to juggle motherhood and a career some days.

  • julie says:

    I’m sorry to be laughing hysterically at your post. I am a grandmother of a 5 yo that didn’t have school for a week and a 17 yo that is out again today. I was also stuck in a college apartment, with said 5 yo, for 4 extra days a week ago. We had 4 barbies and 2 coloring books – I feel your pain! BUT… for the next time, here is one more activity that you may want to try. Snow painting. Take a cookie sheet with sides, pack with snow and bringing side and paint with whatever. Snow canvas. Kept me sane last week. Looking for a new activity for next week because I am sure there will be more snowdays to come. I have hidden the Chutes and Ladder game!

  • Tracy R says:

    Glad you survived. I’ve worked from home since my children came to us when they were nine weeks old so I’m used to them interrupting interviews, spilling stuff on my notes, blabbing away while I’m trying to think and I STILL hate snow days. (Mine are in 5th grade and they, too, had a nearly completely unplanned 5-day weekend which included the very sad and unexpected death of a beloved hamster.) Our summers and weekends have a certain rhythm to them that we’ve all gotten used to where we can divide or combine work and play, but a random day (or days) in January throw us all off. But we survive and thrive and I do have to say that I can finally look back on some of their antics when they were two or three and laugh. Not loudly. But I do laugh.

  • Amina says:

    Heather, I identified so much with your post, but the Chutes & Ladders game made me laugh out loud. That game really sucks! You are almost done and then someone goes down the stinking chute again. Some recent games we are loving you might like: Carcassonne, Smallworld and Dixit. The best part? They all have a clearly defined END! Cheers and hang in there.

  • Hope Stevens says:

    I hear ya!! Sounds very familiar.I also really, really dislike Chutes and Laddders or really any board game. My daughter(6) is totally into games right now. I feel terrible, but I don’t enjoy them ! I play them anyway, but yikes!
    With no “escape” to warm weather anytime soon, I’m trying to “enjoy” winter and all those fun-filled snow days! ;)

  • Sharon says:

    We missed a snow day last week. Love those days…..I’m a teacher and needed to catch up on grading and planning and uploading evidence in my evaluation folder. It’s different to see it from the other perspective.

  • Kate says:

    Omg! Go Heather!!! #3 I would have snapped! I had a tin of 96 crayola crayons! Well done on getting through it all! And yes I agree it is necessary to document it for you and yours! Glad to hear your recent snow day was so much better!
    - Kate

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