It’s a snow day in Alabama. And while an event like this isn’t unheard of, it’s only an every-few-years occurrence. The last significant accumulation in our town was a few days before my daughter turned three. She’s six now, and little brother — experiencing his very first snowfall — is a month shy of three.
He’s the one who announced the snow this morning at 7:00. “I found snowing, mama!” We had all slept late because an inclement weather day had already been called. Schools and businesses were closed because the extreme (for Alabama) temperatures and probability for icy roads. Snow, on the other hand, was very pleasant surprise. According to the weathermen, all precipitation had moved out of the area. So when we woke up with a “dusting” that was really a half-inch to an inch on our street, we were giddy. And my expectations for a magical snow day making precious childhood memories for my precious children went through the roof.
But wait, my precious children come with a side of obstinance. And at their ripe old ages of *can’t fully read yet* and *still in diapers*, they certainly know a whole lot more than mom. Like how unnecessary hats, socks, and mittens are in 16 degrees with light snow.
The minute the battle of wills started, I knew I was on the losing side. Not because my children were going to be outside woefully unprepared, but because my expectations were too big to fail. In my defense, as an Alabama native, a Gulf Coast Alabama native, I can count the times I’ve seen snow on one hand. Which, gives me an advantage of two over the six-year-old. The memories I wanted to make today weren’t just for my children, they were for the child who was wearing t-shirts on the Mardi Gras parade routes 30 years ago this month.
It’s a curse really. Thinking that you have any control over how your children experience something. Thinking your children want the exact same things you wished for as a child. And thinking that this moment in time is the only opportunity to make it happen. Because if you don’t capitalize on it, and post the highlight reel on Instagram, you’ll regret it forever.
Here’s what I regret: the frustration in my voice while giving the ultimatum “you put your mittens on or you stay inside.” Feeling mad first and sympathy second when my son ate it in the driveway after ONE MILLION warnings to stop running. And spending the rest of the morning in a bad mood after their frozen bodies forced us inside after 5 minutes.
I did go back outside to take a picture of our house covered in snow. I should have taken that opportunity to linger a little bit longer and enjoy the wonderland alone. Then maybe the kids would have rethought their clothing choices on their own and joined me to play. Southern snow, like childhood, is fleeting. It was mostly gone by lunch.
Instead of more regrets, I’m taking that “should have” and using it as a lesson for next time. Especially since the next time it snows here, the kids will likely be nine and six — perfect ages to make childhood memories they’ll…I’ll…remember forever.