Lessons from a Snow Day
Usually I post on Tuesdays but like everything else in the South, my blog post was delayed due to snow. Yes, we only got one inch where we live but we were out of school for several days due to ice. In the South we don’t have the equipment to clear the roads because extreme winter weather is not common. But I am not complaining. The North can keep their snow equipment and we can keep our extra vacation days when it snows!
So on Tuesday, instead of writing, I chose to spend the day playing with my family and enjoying being completely unproductive which in a strange sense is very productive. However, I didn’t start the day with that goal. Since I didn’t have anything ready to go for my Tuesday post, I began my morning with coffee and plotting how I would steal a moment to write a post in the midst of….
…..playing in the snow
….being excited about the snow (remember it rarely comes)
….distracted because our routine was different
….napping while my three year old sweetly petted my head (he did not nap)
….playing CandyLand and building a fort
….drinking mimosas at 4pm because…well because we could!
So yes, I let the blog be delayed.
At first I felt guilty because I never miss a Tuesday but then I remembered I write to encourage people, especially working moms, to live a more peaceful and meaningful life. How ironic that I often write how good it is to take a day off while I struggled with having a day just to enjoy and simply be. So I took the advice I dole out to my readers and my students. I ended up being more creative as I immersed myself in the moment. Lessons from that snow day came more organically as I let myself play, think and just stare.
Lessons from a Snow Day
Last is First
One thing I noticed while playing CandyLand with B is how he absolutely hates to lose. He is three. Losing ends his world and is definitely the trigger for a tearful meltdown. As I played and saw that the cards were pushing my husband and I to win before B, I thought is it really healthy to let him win? Do I want a meltdown? Does he realize that we are winning? My husband and I both finished first but didn’t say anything about winning as we let B finish out his turns. My sweet little guy just kept diligently pulling colored cards and moving forward until he hit the finish line. We celebrated and he never really understood he had not won because we didn’t tell him. But as I watched him, I thought about life. How we are all rushing and pushing to get somewhere…often to reach a goal first. We want to win. But sometimes being last is really being first. Slowing down to look at what other opportunities exist can help you win later. Realizing that goal you are chasing may not be what you want anymore could be what you learn along your path. And sometimes you can’t rush because your dream isn’t ready for you yet. For my son, winning to him was just being able to complete the game and he did. He was last but we all had so much fun that he was really first.
Creativity Comes with Stillness
I sat still a lot the last few days. We had endless amounts of cartoons on (I know…bad mama for too much screen time). I don’t let myself play on my phone too much in front of B and after so many Mickey Mouse cartoons, you just start to stare ahead. I am rarely bored these days which is good and not good. You need moments of nothingness so that you have moments to think. If we are bored these days, we instantly turn to our phones. But does that really encourage us to think and create? My cousin, Christy, once told her daugher, Kimbrell, when she moved into a new house to give the decorating some time. Kimbrell, like any new wife and mother, instantly wanted to make her house beautiful. Her mom said that it takes time. She said, “You have to sit in a space for awhile. One night you will be sitting on your couch and look at a wall and know immediately what is suppose to go there. But it takes time.” I have thought often about Christy’s advice in my own house because that “aha” moment has come a lot like that…sitting on the couch staring. But that also goes for life. When you are trying to come up with solutions or new ideas, sit for awhile or a long while. Stare. Disconnect. For us Southerners, the rare snow day gives us that opportunity but we can all choose to be “snowed in” anywhere at any time we need a moment.