“Snow” is a Four-Letter Word

I come to you today in a snow-induced stupor. 

Like my car battery, this old brain is cold and sluggish and can only turn over one single, solitary thought:


I mean, I totally get snowbirds now. Those old farts are geniuses

In honor of reaching my annual winter tipping point, here’s a column I wrote about hitting that wall a few winters back (on February 3, 2011 to be exact).

I think we’re all there — and then some. Let’s have a good wintry wallow. You know you want to.


I can still remember a time–and it wasn’t too many moons ago–when nothing could stir my heart with gladness more than two little words:


It was one of childhood’s greatest joys–the out-of-nowhere, mid-winter reprieve from pencils, books, and teacher’s dirty looks.

There would be snow angels. There would be cocoa with faux marshmallow bits. There would be happy snowsuit romping ’til our frostbitten extremities fell off.


This was our first snow this winter — back when grass was still within scraping distance and it was still “fun.”

Like every kid who ever survived those days of unattended downhill sledding too close to car fenders and privet hedges, this was the stuff I lived for in the big boring middle of winter.

Now I’m pretty sure all these blankety-blank snow days are gonna be the slow and painful death of me.


The very sound of my phone ringing at 5 a.m., the very sight of the school on my Caller ID, the very utterance of the words “snow day” makes every part of my face contort–jaws locked, lips pursed, nostrils flared, eyes rolled back in my head.

With this constant “wintry mix” onslaught, my face could literally freeze this way.

Granted, I’m a Southern girl, and we embrace the white stuff in small doses. Like in centimeters.

We think it’s pretty for a while. We think it’s fun to make that first (and hopefully last) snowman. Then we all agree: it needs to go away.


Even beyond my cultural limitations, I’ve got this pesky thing on my desk called a “calendar.” It’s filled with hilarious little words like “plans” and “deadlines” that don’t go away no matter how much precip falls from the sky or how many children are suddenly underfoot.

So as much as I’d love to be that mom who smiles like a lunatic at the words “snow day” and whips out the cookie sheets, I’ll admit it. I’m the grouchy mom who drags around the house in her bathrobe, muttering and shooting my kids the stink eye.

I’m starting to worry that the loony Ally Sheedy character from The Breakfast Club might be right. (Not about making more snow with your own dandruff; we’re all set, thanks). But about that thing she said through tears and layers of heavy black eyeliner.

“When you grow up, your heart dies.”

It seemed a tad melodramatic at the time, but is that what’s happened to me? Am I just a jaded old hag without a drop of childlike wonder left in me?


Because when I look out the window at a winter wonderland, I don’t exactly whoop with joy anymore. I sigh with pained inconvenience.

I don’t dream of catching snowflakes on my tongue; I grouse about wet boots trudging all over my carpet.

I don’t get out there and throw snowballs; I plunk the kids down in front of a screen.


See? Have Wii controllers, will travel.

I’m officially old. And a crank. And my feet are never not cold.

Somebody needs to launch into a pep talk quick–maybe one that says if life gives you lemons, make lemonade…or to be more au courant, if life gives you snow piles taller than your first-born, make snow cream.

That’s what my mom did, and she was probably sick of snow days too.

Sigh. I guess we might as well do something.

We’re stuck here with nothing else to do, and Lord knows we’re stocked up on milk.

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