Ah, the elusive ‘Snow Day’…
Legends have foretold that once in a generation soft, crisp and gloriously white snow may fall so heavily on our beloved little island that life as we know it will come to a halt. Snow so heavy, so cold, so icy that maybe, just maybe the school you work in may have to…pause for effect…CLOSE due to adverse weather conditions.
I know right. Bloody teachers getting ANOTHER day off school. The nation rolls its eyes.
But, you know – I paid over £3000 for a week’s holiday to Spain last year because I had to go during the school holidays. So roll away non-teaching buddies, roll away.
October 2010 was the last time I was off work due to snow. I remember the day well. Teaching Dad and I were driving (in separate cars) to the same school and despite a small coating of the white stuff, the roads were pretty clear when we hop, skipped and danced our way to school. Suddenly, in a heartbeat, the apocalypse descended upon us. The skies above us darkened and within minutes, the roads and our cars were under a blanket of snow. It was a beautiful moment until my car got stuck on a hill on our way home and my knight in his shining PE Teacher kit has to get out of his car, walk down to mine and drive it up the hill for me.
The day that followed was filled with carelessly watching mid-morning television, eating and going for a really long, picturesque walk through all the fields, woods and hills that surround our tranquil, little village. We returned snow drunk and cold but hot drinks and love soon warmed us up as we laid beneath a sheepskin blanket next to a roaring fire… (Ah, nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles paint a much prettier picture than the reality that was me falling in the snow, crying and squishing my Ganglion Cyst back into my wrist and thus curing it) and so the perfect snow day drew to a close.
Snow days are the perfect little surprise…
Until you have kids…
Snow Day One – The One with the Snowman
It’s 6.53am and you’re staring out of your window frightened of what may lay ahead. The journey will be perilous and slow and it is one you must face alone because the last time you asked your husband to do one of the kids’ drop offs he looked at you as one might look at a small child who put his shoes on himself without being asked – in disbelief. The school and the nursery are at the two polar ends of the village and as you well know, the school and nursery drop off are difficult enough under normal circumstances especially when your children have become deaf to the hoots of you calling again and again and again for them to put their bloody shoes on.
However, on this day, there is something else to add to your already stressful morning and it’s snow. A whole wad of it has been dumped unceremoniously on your untreated drive way and road. The thought of leaving the house with the children makes you retreat back into the foetal position and sit rocking back and forth in your dressing gown repeatedly contouring your nose and not knowing what to do for the best.
Your usual unresponsive husband has gone all tribal and is dancing to the beat of his own drum, with a blue football sock tied around his head, chanting “snow, snow, snow, snow!”
“Have you received the text?” I ask daring to look away from the window in case the snow stops.
“No, have you?” he questions.
“No. I don’t know what to do.” I say in a panic.
“You need to stop contouring your nose. Is her school closed?”
“You never notice my appearance anymore and you notice now!”
“Teaching Mum! (because that’s my name) Task at hand.”
“Um, no, I don’t know.”
“Have you received a text?” he asks.
And so this conversation continues for another half an hour and if you feel like you’re getting no where with this blog post, it’s because you’re not. Much like us on that first morning. Between looking on social media and slagging off every other teacher we know on Facebook who got the ‘call’ before us, we found ourselves still undressed at 7.23am.
Breakfast club opens in six minutes and your eldest is seated upon the toilet watching You Tube.
Then. The. Text. Arrives.
School is closed.
Like a pool of melted snow, the stress begins to leave your body. You won’t have to drive amongst the carnage, you won’t have to skid across an icy-playground, you won’t be risking your precious ones’ lives and, more importantly, you won’t have to get dressed.
The joy of a snow day with your family lasts approximately three and a half minutes.
“Mum, can I have sweets?”
My three year old has no concept of time but he knows his snacks.
“Mum, can I have crisps?”
“Can I have one of your biscuits?”
“Because I said so,”
“Can I have a Fruit Shoot?” (You’ve got to give this kid credit for his relentlessness as much as I am giving you credit for continuing to read this conversation.)
“You’ve already had three this morning.”
Before you know it, it is 8.17am and your son is off his t*ts on Haribos and you’re eyeing up the McGuigans your Mum gave you last week for surviving half term alone whilst husband dearest went bloody skiing…again.
“I’ve just seen the four house men of the apocalypse ride by, so I am going to take a pass, but thanks, sweetheart.”
“I don’t understand the concept of sarcasm, Mum so I will ask again more loudly this time. DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN…(cue cute voice…) with us?”
Ah, hello, Mum guilt. I wondered how long it would be before you reared your ugly head.
“Get your shoes on then.”
Now, I don’t need to tell you this, but the phrase ‘get your shoes on then’ was said, muttered, screamed and yelled a further 4563 times before the children were layered up, in their hats, coats, shoes and gloves (putting gloves on a three year old is the equivalent of being asked to solve a maths equation mentally in front of your class, standing on your head, naked and on fire – it’s torture).
Eventually, your children are snug and warm and ready to brave the snow.
That is, until…
“Mum! I need a wee!”
Lo and behold, my saviour (once again in his PE kit) walks into the hallway and takes his children out to build a snowman.
The kettle is put boiling, the biscuits chosen and Netflix is on.
“Muuuuum!!” They’re cold, wet and both of them are crying because apparently they both have frost bite.
Netflix and chill(ed to the bone.)
The rest of the day is spent eating, clinging to radiators and complaining about the cold.
Snow Day Two – The One with the Early Text
6.10am and through blurry eyes you see messages from colleagues wondering whether a second Snow Day will be called. The garden and street have an eerie silence to it and you’ve just seen this guy:
6.15am and the text arrives.
School is closed.
It’s 6.15am, it’s still dark, it’s cold and it can mean only one thing…
Yes! I’m going to go back to sleep.
It’s going to be amazing!
But, in the night the Sleep Stealers sneaked in and climbed between the sheets and are now snoring and breaking wind simultaneously and I am sandwiched in between them both. Afraid to breathe and afraid to move, sleep slowly begins to pull me back under and lull me into believing that this day will be better than yesterday.
Today is a blank canvas.
“Mum! It’s snowed again!”
Literally a blank canvas.
“Mum! Can we go outside?”
“Not at 7.08 in the morning, dear. Ask your Dad.”
Dad can be found rocking gently on the toilet with his phone in his hand.
“They’ve not called it yet. They’ve not called it and I don’t know what to do!”
Eventually, they call it and by 10am we are all layered up and outside armed with a sledge and money. We’ve heard rumours of Tesco running out of Toastie bread and milk so we decide to walk to our local convenience store. In our estate the snow is fluffy and white and the wind simply nibbles at our ears. However, as soon as we turn the corner into the main road our ears have been ripped off by the savage dog that is the gale force wind. Our eyes stream at force of the wind and the tears sit frozen above our top lips. We no longer have children; they have been replaced by two miniature snowmen both of whom are repeatedly telling us that they hate the snow.
Defeated, we return home and the husband grabs the car keys despite being warned by the BBC that driving is the one thing you should not do and announces that he’s going to Tesco.
“There are snow drifts on the way up to Tesco. I’ve seen it on Facebook so it must be true. There’s no milk left anywhere. The shelves are empty; people are clambering over each other to buy the last packet of Kit Kats. Don’t go. Please, don’t leave us here.”
“Do you want anything?”
Snow Day Three – The One Where We Kind of Wished We Were Working but Would Never Admit That to Anyone…Ever.
You’ve got to get out of the house.
Even the snowman has lost the will to live.
You ring your Mum.
“Mum, we’re coming over,”
“Don’t risk bringing the kids over when the roads are like this. It’s perilous. It’s not worth putting them in danger. Come see me another day. I’m just about to watch yesterday’s Corra.”
“Too late, we’re already on your door step.”
When your Mum is in the kitchen, you see the events that are about to unfold due to the fact that they have been like caged animals for the last three days…
And you run.
Just watch out for the black ice. It’s fraught with danger – much like three back to back Snow Days with your children.