Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow Days

Today’s a snow day for our school.

There’s heavy wet flakes coming down, the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark, and the roads are sloppy because of it.

I get that it’s a snow day. I get that it’s a right of passage for Canadian kids to enjoy this day.

(Aside: I love Rick Mercer’s rant about the snow day.)

The thing is, I send my kids to school. Unless I absolutely must avoid doing so, they GO.

We live within walking distance, so I don’t consider attendance an option—if the buses are canceled, it means nothing to walkers.

Some people might assume this is because I use the school as free daycare.

Well, I’m a stay at home mom, and my youngest goes to school only part time. So guess what? I don’t get 40 hours a week without kids underfoot. Not saying I want to go to work (the life of a spoiled princess treats me well, thankyouverymuch), it’s that if I have an appointment, there are only certain days when I can be absolutely sure that I won’t have kids with me... Mondays, Wednesdays, every other Friday—but that’s only if the Friday isn’t a Professional Activity Day for the teachers, and the Monday isn’t a statutory holiday.

So I get Wednesdays. Wednesdays, without a doubt, are the only day of the week I can schedule an appointment and know for certain that I won’t have a tag along...

And today is Wednesday. And a snow day. And an appointment.

So yes, today, it could be argued that I am using the school as daycare.

But I have my other reasons, too.

When I was young, I was a bus student. My mother was a teacher. We were NEVER allowed to stay home on snow days. She would drive us to school, and pick us up on her way home. Unless our father was off work, until we were old enough to stay home alone that was the way it went.

But I loved snow days!

Snow days are exceptionally fun days at school. They’re more exciting than substitute teachers, because even though substitute teachers mean a mental break from the everyday (regardless of the fact that the curriculum is still covered), snow days mean anything goes.

I even loved snow days in high school (gasp!).

Want to know why? Because I got to spend the entire day doing whatever I wanted!

Yes, if I wanted to hang out in the art room and do nothing, I could.

If I became a fixture in the library’s reading room, it was fine.

If all I wanted to do was sit in the cafeteria playing cards with my friends, nobody cared.

And because I was a good kid (read: boring as plain toast, but generally likable), the teachers didn’t mind if I was kicking around. In fact, I was probably helpful. I was that teenager who could actually carry on conversations with adults and enjoy it.

I was weird. I’ll own it.

But here’s what I hope my kids are learning today. Today, on this snow day...

I hope my oldest (the one with mild anxiety) is learning that school is fun. His reflexive response to school is a negative one, and if snow days give him warm fuzzies and remind him that school is a great place, I’m happy.

He’s also not incredibly social—I was shy when I was his age, too—so if today he gets an extra chance to talk to his peers, and play with his friends, and oh, hell, just smile more, I’m thrilled.

Because right now? On this day? When I checked the school board’s website and announced the buses were canceled, my boys’ eyes lit up and they began dancing around the living room.

Not because it meant they got to stay home from school. No, not that.

Because it meant adventure, surprise, and who knows what’s in store?!

School as a positive. THAT’S what I want them to learn today.

The snow day. Who knew it was good for a school's PR?

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