It snowed this weekend. On the Friday that would have put Charlie back to school for a total of three days. It wasn’t supposed to be a big one. In fact, at 5 a.m. when I was clocking in to the morning shift of making breakfast and packing school lunch, there was nary a flake. By six it was coming down steadily. I smiled at it over my breakfast like “aren’t you cute” and “look at the pretty snow.” Never laugh in the face of nature.
At eight school had still not been canceled despite the thick layer on the ground, so we were gearing up to leave (the car was already idling) when I got the call. No school. To this day I have mixed feelings about this. As a former English teacher and child my inner self can’t help but shout a tiny “yay.” And then the mom version, Jamie 2.0, knocks on my forehead to remind me this means more rather than less craziness.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t just returned to school. I was enjoying feeling nostalgic about the break, all our quality time. Now that time was back and the warm fuzzies froze over. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be home with the kids. It was the tug-of-war between what the twins want to do (go outside in the snow and get into stone cold trouble) and what Charlie wants to do (look at the snow from the warmth of the house and read books). I’m the rope in this scenario and it wears me thin trying to stretch enough for both. And if I had my druthers, I’d be inside reading like a champ.
There’s a graphic on our local news station weather report whenever snow approaches. It ranges from “ignore social media” to “drive with caution” to “buy bread and milk.” In the south, no matter where the arrow points, everyone always goes to DEFCON 1 and clears out the grocery store before getting in their cars and driving slowly and erratically home. In the northeast, this snow of ours would barely have tipped the needle.
But that’s the thing about hard things. You develop a tolerance. It’s all on the sliding scale. When Charlie still had his trach and I carted around the backpack with the hose attached to suction the goop from his throat, I did not think how scary this might look to others. After the twins had come home from the NICU and we ventured out, Charlie in his wheelchair and the twins in their double stroller, it did not seem a difficult thing. It was how we rolled. Our “buy bread and milk” setting had been altered to a much higher panic level.
We all have our settings. I think it is important to respect that. My read on a situation might not be yours, but they are both valid. It’s so easy sometimes to dismiss other’s fears and feelings because they are not our own. But in the end, they still need their place. No, we should not always appoint our emotions dictatorship over our actions. But we do need to respect these feelings in others. It’s how I try to parent. Get a read on my kids’ emotional setting and approach with respect/caution.
Sometimes we all just need to get over it (I’m talking to you, maroon Pontiac who breaks and then guns it up a hill on ice), and sometimes we need to relax and grant some grace. In the meantime, I’m going to go play in the snow and read some books and make some hot food and enjoy the fact that my panic setting is currently on low.
Thanks Meg for letting me hash out some of these thoughts for the Week in Review.