Snow Day Slow Down

“No one is going anywhere today.  Period.”

This is how my husband started his day on Tuesday this week, clearly deciding for everyone in the household what our plans would be for the foreseeable future.  “I can’t even stand up in the driveway on the flat part,” he explained at 6 AM. “No way am I attempting the hill. We’re all staying home.”

We let the kids sleep in, I made the required calls to their respective schools to report their absences. We turned on the pellet stove, and enjoyed a cup of tea

together as we watched the sun rise on a dreary, messy world outside. The kids sauntered down eventually.  We made them pancakes, a rare treat on a weekday morning.

Ah.  A snow day.  Even better, in the kids’ view, it was not an official snow day.  It was what we call a “Tyler Family Snow Day.”  

In all honesty, school cancellations don’t mean that everyone is home.  My husband still can make it into town–usually. It’s the ice that brings our family to our collective knees (or perhaps our bums, should we happen to venture outside too quickly).  This week, we seem to all be plagued with a goodly amount of that frozen precip junk as the nor’easter continues to churn and spin above us.

I work from our home, so my work still awaited me, with few excuses for why I should not be productive.  With the weather worsening, I cancelled myself out of my commitments for the day–seven of them, all told, a particularly full day of meetings and obligations... all of which could wait and the earth would not come to an end.

Throughout the day, the rest of the family curled up in various parts of the house:  watching tv, playing games, reading, napping. I decided to allow them their leisure, and resolutely refused to feel guilty about not worrying about their productivity in the least.  But after allowing everyone their time--all the way through supper--I insisted on quick pickups in their room... and their assistance in bringing up Christmas decorations.

With minimal (but apparently necessary) grumping by my helpers (“slaves” the teenage boys called themselves in protest), the boxes arrived upstairs.  Lights. Ornaments. Decorations of all sizes.  Soon one son was laughing as he pulled out various goofy things–the Christmas stocking our eldest son was sent home from the hospital in some 16 years ago, the Santa in a beach chair from Brazil, the Santa skier I purchased when I first moved to Vermont. The other son was humming to himself while he hung lights in my office.  Our daughter pulled out the stuffed dog puppets that bark out “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, happily picking out the song in our Rottweiler’s face.  The lab joined the scene, too–by quickly claiming the three holiday pillows on the couch and curling up for (yet another) quick snooze. Two hours later, our house transformed, I sighed in contentment as we all headed up to bed.  

The next morning, each kid asked the same question as they woke up. “Is the driveway alright?”  Their voices, even independently, seemed hopeful.  “Are we going to school today? Are you sure that it is safe for us to go?” My affirmative response, citing the fact that their father had already done this very journey an hour and a half earlier, did not sway them.  “Maybe we should just stay home again today–it looks icy.”  

But off we went, rejoining the normal routine, oddly refreshed by our unexpected quiet day of enforced peace. 


Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to three children involved in the local schools–now at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.  She firmly believes in all education, and currently sits on the board for the Brattleboro School Endowment, the Brattleboro Town School Board and the Early Education Services policy council.  Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..