Behold: The first snow day of the year

Ah, the first snow day of the year. There’s not much that compares to it.
Snowy roads no match for sledding hill.
It starts about 6 p.m. the night before. Someone (usually me) checks It says it’s a 99% chance of a snow day. Someone (again me) announces this loudly while standing in front of the TV. The children who were tired and grumpy are born-again revelers in high fashion fuzzy pj bottoms. I try to hold them off a smidge by warning them that the site has been wrong 99% of the time so far this year.
But let’s face it, we don’t care. A hope starts up deep inside and homework is tossed aside.
I start to meticulously check the Weather Channel app. I wait and wait for it, until yes, an orange exclamation point appears. A rise of excitement rips through me before I even click on it. Four to 6 inches? I try to steel against my hopes, worried about all those who have to drive to work in the morning. But I can’t help myself: I fire up 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We’re staying up late and, mother of all inventions, we’re microwaving popcorn.
It’s a party before the party. Confession time: Moms want snow days as much, if not more, than the children. We fantasize to great lengths: No lunches to pack. No kids to drive anywhere. No basketball practice. No battle of the wills over what pants to wear. No pants to be worn.
11 p.m. – Everyone is in bed far too late.
Midnight, 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. – I check my phone. The orange ! is still on the screen. Trepidation and exhilaration have a social gathering in my chest.
4:30 a.m. – A check of the TCAPS website. Nothing. Check at 4:31, 4:33, 4:35. Give up. Start prepping myself for the Morning from Hell.
6 a.m. – Wake up to the buzz of a text. Aha! The alert from WLDR that school is closed! I rip my phone from the charger and nearly upend the dresser. My heart hammers wildly. Finally, I can sleep.
7 a.m. – Still can’t sleep. I can’t wait to see the kids’ faces when they get their first snow day. Something you can’t earn, can’t make and can’t buy. It’s bestowed upon them from above and placed lovingly across the ticker on the bottom of the TV screen. I turn off the alarm so the kids can sleep in. I wait quietly, proud of my restraint.
7:30 a.m. – A child races into the room. He makes a beeline for my phone. I say nothing. I don’t want to spoil the surprise and I also want to make sure he can read.
7:31 a.m. – There is shouting, dancing and spontaneous brotherly hugging. Finally, I can go to sleep. My work here is done. Just a pesky little deadline for the 48-page January-February issue on my calendar today…
8:30 a.m. – Without being told, the kids find their own mittens, hats and boots, all without flopping down in a pile by the front door and wailing in despair like every other school day morning. Outside reveals the most glorious of conditions: Fluffy white snow outlining the trees to perfection. When the kids leap, they disappear into a cloud of white.
9:30 a.m. – It’s time for the be-all end-all of snow day activities: sledding. While the roads are impassable for school buses, they are nothing for a mother with two waterproof children on her hands and half a tank of gas.
10:00 a.m. – Head for the sledding hill next to the school.  
Noon – The moms at the sledding hill stand around in the sunshine. We marvel over the heat wave – it’s 14 degrees. And we marvel over the road conditions – they’re better than they’ve been in two weeks. There’s no doubt it. It’s the perfect snow day.

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