I’ll Just Be Over Here Quietly Happy if You Need Me
Note: You might read this while rolling your eyes and shaking your fist at my sanctimonious head. Be patient. There’s another note at the end.
It’s the third day of school cancellations for our kiddos because of that little snow storm that blew through here this weekend (have you heard about it?). I’ve a lot of friends who wept actual tears of dismay (or fear. Six of one…) when they heard the news. Some friends work full-time and had to scramble for childcare, or worse, take their kids into work with them. Others fear that their children are going to end up crawling their way out through the drywall because they just can’t be inside any longer. I keep my mouth shut, for the most part, unless someone thinks I’m complaining, too. I don’t, though. Yes, the routine of a school day is nice. But on the school days, I’m in stay-at-home mom mode: I’m driving to school and back to home and serving lunch at exactly noon and checking homework and making sure uniforms are clean and sticking. to. the schedule–a schedule that’s not mine, of course, but the one that’s been created for me. Am I working at all this week toward my goal of getting Book #2 finished? Um, not exactly. But the thing is: my kids are home. They’re happy. We can all relax the rules and ignore the clock, and right now, I think, it’s a gift I don’t want to turn away.
So in some ways, the snow days are the best days.This morning, the kids were up early. David had gotten up before that to work out before his day started, but made the mistake of sitting down first to check his email. He was still there, on the couch, when Saoirse came down the stairs, saw him, and crawled onto his lap for a cuddle. Snow day.I slept in an hour past the usual wake-up time, not on purpose, but because I love sleep like a bear loves trash cans, and just may have forgotten to set the alarm the night before. I woke to the smell of coffee, because David is the Resident French Press Operator (that sounds dirty) in the house, and has known me long enough to know that a warm coffee mug in my hand is the only way my eyelids will work. But today, he showed up at my bedside with a plate of waffles, too. “You brought me breakfast in bed?!” I said. I couldn’t believe my good luck. Also, I think David is super handsome in his beard, and I think there’s no better fortune than having a hot bearded man show up in your bedroom with a plate full of carbs. David laughed. “You made them. I just pulled them out of the freezer and heated them up.” Snow day.I was just finishing my coffee when Quinlan walked into our room and climbed onto my bed, her Star Wars nightshirt riding up as she heaved herself onto the mattress. She was followed by Cian in his pajamas (also Star Wars). Saoirse came in after, and wrapped her almost-eight-year-old body around mine. She was wearing rainbow-colored unicorn pjs, because she just can’t buy into the Jedi hype, and before I could blink, all three kids were piled under the covers and I was reading The Berenstain Bears and a chapter book and whatever else they could find. Yes, I had work to do. No, it wasn’t getting done. But snow day.Then: “Don’t sit on your brother.”
“Get off your brother.”
“Don’t hit your sister.”
And: “Mom! Cian needs an ice pack.”
“He doesn’t need an ice pack.”
And finally: “Mom? Can you make us smoothies?”
“Mom? Can we watch TV?”
“Mom? When are we going to read The Hobbit?”
“When’s for lunch? Can we have a snack? When are you going to turn on the TV?”
Because, snow days.I’m going to go take the dog for a walk now, because even though I hate the cold, I need the fresh air more. And then I’m going to visit the writing, and try to return the emails. I’m going to hope there’s no mold on the bread that I bought before the storm hit so that we have something to feed these tiny people for lunch, and then I’m going to take the three of them grocery shopping later because I am a masochist, and also because we’re officially out of food.David thinks there will be school tomorrow. I told him I secretly kind of like having them home–I say secretly because sometimes I feel like I’m betraying some mom code by admitting that out loud. But my kids are rested and happy and watching way too much TV, and they’re coloring and crafting and helping each other make gross cakes in an Easy Bake Oven. We’re living practically like hermits, which isn’t always good for the psyche, but sometimes–just sometimes–the life of a shut-in can be a restorative one.I like my kids. I like the permission these days give me to enjoy them. It was almost seven years ago today that I shocked myself by sobbing to David on the phone from my car after I got the keys to my new “professor’s” office. I still remember him telling me it was okay, that we would make it work, that I could turn down the job (?!) and we would try to live on one income, even though we were walking into territory we weren’t quite sure we could manage. It was a leap of faith–one granted to our family by the hot guy in the beard with my coffee–and whenever I think that the kids fighting is enough to make me sew my ears closed, I think of that moment in the car. I will never take this for granted.Because, snow days.
Note: So, now that you’ve read this, please know that I’m laughing, because I wrote this yesterday morning, when I was, clearly, still in that lovely haze of caffeine, comfy pajamas and delusion. While yes, I still love my kids and will take a snow day whenever they come, what I’m not going to tell you is that I hadn’t worn real pants since Sunday, or that I’d given up so much on the idea of ever leaving the house again that my eyebrows had overgrown into two mutant caterpillars crawling toward each other to mate in the middle of my forehead. And I’m most definitely not going to tell you that by 4 p.m. I’d locked myself in the bathroom (“I’m taking a shower, kids! You can stop banging on the door now!”) with my phone and a secret bag of chocolate. So, if you’re any of my friends who talked to me on social media or via text yesterday afternoon? Yeah: I wrote all of that while sitting on the bathroom floor with the tub as my backrest and fingers smeared with the stains of candy and desperation. Motherhood for the win, people. It’s a glamorous life.