SALT LAKE CITY — Let me ask you something: When the snow blanketed the world outside your window on Wednesday, did you smile or cry?
No, this is not a trick question, nor does it require an either/or answer (although you could answer that way if you are confident in your answer). For me, my answer is a little more complicated.
As a parent, I will tell you what: When I heard the snowplows at 2 a.m., I let out a childish whimper as I pulled my sliver of covers up over my shoulders. After all, a string of sunny days had given me spring fever and fulfilled a long-lived dream of daily pleasant weather where I could walk outside in my bare feet and let my kids do the same. One of my children recently took advantage of such a sunny (shoe-less) day, having gone for a walk without me knowing.
That, I could have done without.
As I lay tucked in my warm bed with my baby's knees in my back (yeah, I'm one of those parents who gives in to crying children in favor of sleep), I was reminded that today was a snow day with in-person school being canceled.
Today I would not need to wake up the masses in a timely manner, nor fight the school-going kids on going to school. "Hallelujah!" I thought as I moved my baby toward my husband's side of the bed so I could have my turn not to hug the corner.
But wait. Snow days meant actual snow that I would need to shovel, and actual snow that my children would want to play in — beg to play in.
Sleep evaded me as I thought about the sore muscles I would have from shoveling our decades-long driveway, or the whining teenagers I would have to convince to clear it. I stayed awake racking my brain as I tried to remember where the mittens were and if we even had enough to cover nine sets of hands.
Sure enough, my worry was justified, as with each child emerging from sleep came the accompanying bug-eyed "wow," that I knew would need to be satisfied with actual full-body immersion in the white fluffy powder.
The battle within was as bad as it's ever been.
Do I get them all dressed for 20 minutes of play and even more time of clean-up-from-snow-being-tracked-in + laundry? Do I brave the cold when misery is not something I generally put myself in on purpose?
Thankfully, the kind-hearted soul that was sitting on my shoulder that day prevailed and we all ventured into the majestic blanket that was laid on the earth overnight.
Did we have enough winter gloves? Absolutely not, but we improvised with gardening and utility gloves. And guess what? Nobody cared because they were experiencing something that doesn't come around too often: a lot of snow worthy of playing in!
We shook the trees and made more snow fall onto unassuming persons. We made snow angels and puffy, dry snowball things that blasted in the air before hitting their targets. The kids jumped on a snow-covered trampoline, causing the powder to engulf them with each bounce. We pulled a sled across the front yard, face planted in the snow, and got colder than we ever imagined being.
"The snow is making my hands hot," I heard one child say matter-of-factly as he continued on for a few more minutes.
I'm not sure how long the fun lasted. It could have been 20 minutes, or an hour or more, but time has a way of not mattering at all when it is paused for the sake of having an experience.
Yes, I spent a big bulk of my day cleaning up the remains of that fun-filled morning. The laundry pile was added to and the kitchen floor now had footprints scattered from wet feet caused by the lack of adequate snow boots. Hot chocolate mugs filled the kitchen sink with the chocolate splatter on the backsplash from poorly aimed cup throws — you know, for good measure.
Yes, I spent twice as much time shoveling the driveway from the snow being packed down by a million little footprints, and my yard is no longer a clean blanket of white, but a rutted pile of crunchy ruts.
Yet, if you were to ask me if my snow-filled day was spent smiling or crying, my answer would be a resounding ear-to-ear grin that will no doubt last a lifetime. Each time I think back on this day, I will smile — I may even cry a smile of joy for the day the snow blanketed the world outside my window.
Have you had a memorable snow day with your children? Tell us all about your happy and cry-filled moments in the comment section.