Last night I was up until the early hours of the morning trapped in an anticipation fueled cycle of checking the weather app on my phone and stepping out onto the back porch to monitor the various forms of winter precipitation as they fell from the sky.
Even now in my thirties I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of a snow day. I guess it should be prefaced that I am a born and raised Georgian and in Georgia, snow is magic. When I was a kid, snow in Atlanta was like the universe just giving you an extra day.
A free day. A magic 24 hour period inserted between, “Oh crap, I haven’t even started that book report yet” and “Please turn in your book reports.” It meant your parents stayed home from work and played outside with you, it meant supplementing your not so winter wardrobe with bread bags on your feet and 3 pairs of socks because you had to wear tennis shoes in the snow, it meant hot chocolate and wet gloves hanging by the fire. Snow days in Georgia are made of happy even when your mom makes you wear a pair of tube socks for gloves with sandwich baggies on top because why would you need to own ski gloves down south? Snow days meant rummaging through the basement looking for anything that could be turned into a sled and playing until your hands were numb, your cheeks were red and you collapsed into the house one big freezing, soaking, pile of exhausted joy at the end of the day.
We’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin
Remember that time that our kids went to school? I think it was called 2013 and it was neat. I admit I went a bit overboard on the whole waxing poetic about the wonder of snow up there because the truth is, when a snow day overstays its welcome, the harsh reality sets in. This is the part when you see what you are really made of, when the loving family dynamic gets put to the ultimate test. Cabin Fever.
It starts out innocent enough; a board game, an extra snack, a glass of wine or beer a bit earlier in the day than usual, a sarcastic remark to your spouse, a snap at your kid for making a mess. We don’t catch any of the warning signs because we don’t know how long we will be here. Somewhere along the way the sanity rope feels like it is starting to fray a bit and the local weather man showing the snow in his area becomes some bizarre backdrop back drop to your family’s de-evolution.
In what feels like an instant you are turning a blind eye to your kid eating a bowl of “skittles cereal” and you are dreaming about that Amazon droid helicopter thing delivering a case of booze to your frozen snowy doorstep. You become a bit numb to what your kids are up to as long as they keep it down and don’t get blood on anything as you settle into your own little wi-fi fueled haze. Cycling through social media, weather apps, and random google searches, you are suddenly curious if the U.S. just invented slopestyle to pad our Olympic stats. Eventually you start to wonder how long you have been sitting there. When did I take a shower last? Why are my children’s collective worldly possessions all in the living room? Did I just eat this entire can of Pringles? How long have I been wearing these pajama pants? Is it still snowing? No school again? What day is it? What year is it? Netflix is the only one in this house that truly understands me. How many lunches have we had today? Is there anything left my kids haven’t fought about?
Sound familiar? You start organizing games like the nap game and the prize is whichever kid falls asleep first doesn’t get a spanking. You gather the family around the table to work on a 1000 piece argument. You start wondering if you should send the internet a Valentine’s day card. You try to make the best of it by thinking of all of the great family memories the snow storm has provided but get interrupted because now that your kids have not played with every single toy that they have, they have resorted to taking breaks from fighting and crying to climb on stuff and jump off of furniture and you are pretty sure you need to find an ACE bandage so you can tie them up with it and MAKE IT STOP.
Being cooped up for days on end can push us right to that edge but somehow we hold on. Sibling rivalry wears itself out and sleep gives us the short respite we so desperately need. The thaw is coming and we just have to hang on and one day we will look back and only see the happy. When you are in the moment though, cabin fever is completely weak.