Snow Days

The first rule of Snow Days: you don’t talk about Snow Days. 

The second rule of Snow Days? You do not talk about Snow Days.

We’re back in the season of perpetual hope — no, not the jolly Yuletide kind, but the kind that has teachers and students alike checking and double-checking forecasts, listening to the radio first thing in the morning, and updating the school board’s online bus information every few minutes, waiting to see if a miracle has happened and we get an unplanned break in the routine. 

We get an average of eight snow days a year where I live, and that can include cold days, when the temperatures in late January and through February can dip so low that the Celsius and Farhenheit thermometres agree and Diesel engines won’t start. But right now, we’ve got a late period of winter storms coming, mixes of rain and snow and freezing temps that could make driving treacherous and force the cancellation of the buses.

So we are waiting. And tonight, the wind is howling, pushed by a weather system that may hold some nastiness in store for us. 

  
There are a lot of superstitions or traditions that go along with snow days. People say that to bring one on, you should wear your pyjamas inside out (or backwards), or put a spoon under your pillow. The surest way to jinx a snow day, though, is to talk about it in advance. 

But it’s so hard not to speculate, isn’t it? Especially after a long, mostly dark month with few breaks, the cold (and this year, damp as well as chill) grind that is November. The possibility of an easing of the load for a day is delightful, and many of us in classrooms take full advantage of it to get things done. I know some parents do struggle with snow days, though, and it’s not always safe or possible to get the kids to their schools on their own when the weather is bad. Snow days mean figuring out child care or even missed work, if the child cannot get to the school. I’m one of the lucky ones — I can bring mine to work with me, and I’ve done so in the past. And for the past year, one has been old enough to look after the other through the day, with phone calls and drop-ins to double-check, which is an amazing relief.

A lot of people are already anticipating bus cancellations on Friday. I’m trying not to think too much about it, to let it be a pleasant surprise. But at the same time, I’m listening to that wind, checking the forecast, and liking the idea of a lighter day.

After all, I’ve already broken the first rule.

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