Adult Snow Days

When I hear that a lot of snow is coming, I still get that same feeling as when I was a kid—the eager anticipation of a day off from school. A day to relax and play and not have to feel guilty about it, because the weather’s not your fault.

DSCN2700Somehow, though, the nostalgic dream does not translate into reality as an adult. Sure, I might get the day off work, but it’s not the same. Now I need to shovel 20” of snow off my sidewalk and driveway. It took me 3 shovelfuls just to reach the pavement each time. Now I need to be the one to ensure we have food for the duration of the blizzard. And ways to keep warm if we lose power. And something to keep the child entertained.

When you have a child, snow days are not as relaxing as you’d think. No slow, quiet hours reading books, drifting off the sleep, snuggled up on the couch. Oh, no, heaven forbid! Instead, the little one drags me out into the snow and cold and insists on “playing.” Making snow angels. Snowmen.









Rescuing her from drifts that try to eat her.


And for my pains she throws snowballs at me. Luckily, her aim is not that good.

After a weekend of snow adventures, aching muscles, and frozen faces, the insult to injury came: the child had a snow day from school. One more day of entertaining a stir-crazy 6-year-old and getting no work of my own done. To top it off, I forgot to take her to her dentist appointment, meaning I then had to take her out of school the next day to do it. I did remember to take her to Karate, mostly because she was bouncing off the walls and needed to let off some energy.

So adult snow days are nothing like kid snow days. Turns out they’re a whole lot of work when you have kids of your own. And although I am exhausted and haven’t been able to feel my nose for three days, I’m not complaining. It won’t be long before the child has better things to do than play with mommy on a snow day, and I’ll be wishing for one more snow angel from my own angel.

Snow angel color corrected

How did you spend your snow days this weekend?

Christmas Cards

Today I am embarking on the yearly Christmas Card Ritual. Addressing cards, writing notes, signing names, putting in photos, sticking on stamps… A time-consuming and hand-cramping past time.

Card Birds Still, I like the tradition. It’s a way to keep in touch with people I might not otherwise connect with, especially with those not on Facebook or other social networks. I also find some of the artwork on the cards to be beautifully evocative of the Christmas spirit.

1936 - HS Warren & Clara McFarlinWriting Christmas cards also connects with a long tradition—and anyone knowing my genealogy interest knows I like tradition. So I was pleased to find several Christmas cards sent out by my great-grandparents, Harold Stites and Clara Warren, among papers given to me by my relatives. All the cards displayed in this post are theirs.

People these days are creative with their cards, enclosing newsletters about their year in review, and customizing the photos on the cards. A writer friend of mine composes a newspaper with stories of the goings-on at the North Pole, pulled from the major news stories of the year. While I enjoy getting the photo cards from my friends and family—and my aching hand would welcome not having to write so many notes and sign so many cards—I am old-fashioned. I like my handwritten cards.

As I have gotten older and lost people I loved, I have come to cherish the fragments of handwriting I have from them. Handwriting is so individual, so personal, that seeing a familiar script is as powerful as hearing their voice. There is a life to handwriting that is lacking in printed text—even though the printed text is often more legible, especially after the first 20 or so cards!

For me, nostalgia pervades the act of Christmas card writing. As I look at these cards from my great-grandparents, I see a reflection of who they were. They were stylish dressers, as demonstrated by the nattily dressed candy canes on one card.

Card Top Hat

My great-grandmother played piano and organ, as well as composed music and hymns, as shown on the card of the angel playing the piano. In fact, my great-grandmother’s apartment grand piano sits in my living room right now.

Card Piano

Card BallsThe cards they chose reflected my great-grandparents’ taste—beautiful, elegant, and joyful, full of the things they cherished most: home and family. Maybe someday I will try the new-fangled customized photo cards and give my hand a break, but for now I choose to follow the tradition of my great-grandparents.

And maybe, if I am lucky, some of my cards will be found by my great-grandchildren among the precious papers saved by my descendants.

Card Doorway

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