Snow Day Guilt


    I've enjoyed the recent snow days with my boys as a break from routine, but I feel a considerable amount of guilt that I have yet to take them sledding.

    So far this school year, my kids have had an abundance of snow days, including Monday and today. Now, I would be complaining – and trust me, I would be — if I had a full time job in an office setting instead of a more flexible freelance job at home. As it is, I have to admit, when that email from the school arrives a little after 5 a.m., I feel the same twinge of joy I felt as a girl when KYW News Radio shouted out the snow code for Lower Merion Schools – 302.

    I see a snow day as a break for all of us. A break from routine, a break from rules. I release my children from their screen and sugar restrictions. We have hot chocolate and movie marathons. I play Wii with them when I finish whatever calls or stories I need to write. We take walks through the city and snowball fight on the way home.

    One thing we haven't done this year is go sledding. And I have a considerable amount of guilt about this. I suspect this guilt is of the Jewish variety, and I try to placate it by telling myself that there isn't an abundance of sledding hills in Center City. And the sledding thought process continues like so:

    I keep forgetting to buy sleds.

    It's cold out.

    Boy, those streets look a mess.

    Maybe we shouldn't drive.

    This doesn’t look like good sledding snow.

    I have a call at 1 p.m.

    The boys look cozy.

    I don't want to wait for them to put on all those clothes. 

    Maxon is going to complain about his snowboots.  

    The undressing process will finish me. 

    Sure, I'll help you get that red brick from the Jabba level.

    It's not that I have never taken them sledding. When we lived on the east side of town, there was a burp of a hill at Seger Playground. The boys were smaller then and didn't notice what a sorry excuse for a sledding experience it was. They thought we were taking them to the face of K2.

    But they still don’t know what it feels like to zoom down a proper slope of a suburban hill, like the ones my friends and I found during the blizzard of '78. Unparented, we sped down again and again, icicle fingers gripping the strings of the Radio Flyers, snow spraying into our faces and down our necks, ice crusting the edges of our scarves.

    No, our boys don't know this type of sledding. Maybe they will on the next snow day. Maybe the next time I'm at Target I will remember to buy sleds. And I'll brave the streets and get them to Lemon Hill.

    Or maybe I won't. It looks cold out. We really shouldn't drive.