The first time it came, they called it a “polar vortex” and canceled school for two days due to extreme cold. The second time it came, a meteorologist on the news feeds explained what a polar vortex was, why the second one wasn’t one, and why some of the dire reactions to “polar vortex” were wrong. School wasn’t closed, but it was still pretty cold. This time nobody seems to be talking about polar vortexes, but the extreme cold is here and school is again canceled for two days (at least).
These waves of cold are disruptive. The outdoors is dangerously cold, so along with school we’ve canceled any other appointments we have. Instead, we hunker down in our home, where it’s warm and safe. The boys go about their business as if it’s a continuation of the weekend and take the disruption in stride.
This is relatively new. When I was a child, I always celebrate snow days as an unexpected reprieve from school. It wasn’t that I disliked school—at least, most of the time I didn’t. I liked learning well enough and could, usually, tolerate the socialization problems I had at school well enough. But snow days were unexpected holidays. They were like sick days, except without the being sick part, which made them all the more precious. Whether I was bundled up to play outside (which wouldn’t happen in this kind of weather) or cuddled in a chair with a good book, I enjoyed the extra free time.
For years, my children had a very different response to snow days. Whether school was going well or not, they wanted to be there because that’s where they were “supposed” to be. If school was canceled without foreshadowing, well that was unacceptable. Especially, as happened occasionally, if I got them ready for school before I learned that the buses wouldn’t be coming—that was excruciating for everyone involved, namely the boys and I.
Now, they just adapt. They deal with it. They don’t long for snow days the way most kids do, but they tolerate them well enough. I’ll take that!