Monday, January 12, 2015

Take Time to Play!

Another snow day. This is our third in a row. It hasn’t been that we have gotten a lot of snow, but it has been too cold and timed just perfectly to cancel school. During snow days, I often find plenty of work to “catch up” on. Whether I end up going in to school or staying home, I inevitably work. Knowing the cold and snow is coming, I typically scoop the piles from my desk, cram them in my briefcase, and bring it all home. On a snow day, I’m energized and get tasks done. My inbox is looking good, my to-do list is shortening, and I finally find time to read an article or two. Sometimes I start a blog post or play around with some cool tech tools that I usually do not have time to figure out on my own. The kids are content creating on their iPads, playing together with their toys, and relaxing. I am blessed that my three boys play like best friends (but fight like true brothers). We read and play together at moments throughout the day, and the day is done.

For years, snow days have been an opportunity to work. I enjoy my work, so it is not drudgery, it is simply using undisturbed time to devote myself toward my passion, my career.

But today was different. Even though I made it into school briefly before the school cancellation was called, I decided this day was not going to be an all-work day. A short burst of energy to accomplish a few tasks filled my morning. My afternoon, well, it was time to experience the snow.

For my youngest, Atticus, it has been torture staying inside during these extreme cold days. He sees snow and sun, but doesn’t realize that -25 degrees is not safe to play outside for extended periods of time. My middle son, Gus, explained to him that “the bites (his understanding of frostbite) will get your fingers when it is too cold and they might fall off.” This satisfied his urge to venture outside for a few days. My oldest, Alex, isn’t bothered too much by staying inside since that is his nature, and he loves to build in Minecraft. But after a few days of being cooped up in the house, though, we are ready to go. I like to get my kids outside to play as much as possible - the fresh air is good for all of us. Plus, the new puppy loves the snow.  

Once the extreme cold left, it was time to play. “Hooray!” they shouted, running around the house, gathering their snow gear. With three boys and the excitement of the first sledding opportunity, the house is chaos - the puppy jumping around, boots and snow pants flying, and the decision of which gloves to wear. After the 20-minute bundle-up, we head outside. A chill is in the air, but it is perfect for building snow forts and sledding down our big hill. Once out in the white tundra, we discover it is a fluffy snow, not the greatest for forts or snowball fights. So, the three boys and I head for the hill. Drifted near the bottom, we plunge through the deep snow. Little Atticus takes giants steps to overcome the high drifts, but he trudges forward, determined to reach the top of the hill.

I took the first trip down the hill. “We have to make a track,” and I’m heavy enough to do it! After that, it was trip after trip, each boy taking their turn down the hill, smiling and laughing the entire time. Our puppy got into the fun, trying to attack the sled as it sped down the hill. We even discovered that the pup loves to play “catch” with our make-shift snowballs.

After coming inside rosy-cheeked and wet, we enjoyed hot cocoa and marshmallows, the perfect end to our play. The puppy passed out on the floor, exhausted from the snow-filled fun of the afternoon, and the boys sat together on the couch, watching Curious George.

It is moments like this that are our most memorable. The joy on my kids faces as they raced down the hill, the laughter watching our puppy catch snowballs in the air, the time spent doing something fun together as a family. It is in these moments that we remember we must balance school and home.

To be honest, I struggle to find a balance between home and school many times. When I am devoted to a task, I’m 100% in the moment. My school life takes a lot of time, and I enjoy that time. I enjoy seeing the students learning, watching them grow. I enjoy spending time with my staff, always pursuing their best for their students. I enjoy connecting with other educators through social media, learning and growing too. I strive to be my best when I’m at school. And in the times I am at home, I strive to do the same for my kids.

Today was one of those reminders that we receive from time to time, sending a message. My kids are my inspiration, my reason for doing what I do. The message was this: It is okay to take time to play. It is okay to unplug for a while and not feel guilty about it, playing with my kids, taking in the treasured moments we have together when they are young. It is more than okay to do all of these things, giving 100% of myself to what I love. I love my job and my school, but I love my family even more.

And so, I will push myself to balance school and home better. I will not count the hours between the two, but will take in the moments. The moments, no matter how big or small, are the memorable, cherished times, creating memories that will last forever. Take time to play. Moments matter. Love all you do, and do it well.

photo credit: <a href="">LadyDragonflyCC - >;<</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. Thank you for pointing this out, Amy!

    We have a 15-week-old who I know these baby times won't happen again with him. Therefore, family has been the priority when arriving home. Thankfully bc of current mobile tools, I'm able to work smarter and faster in the time I do take in the evenings. :D

    How much snow did you end up having? And how many days off did you have? Your school have make-up days?

    1. Thank you for reading, Daniel! Sorry it took me so long to respond!!!

      Well, we are now up to 6 snow days - just got 14 inches this weekend! All snow days are tacked on to the end of the school year. And February has just started!!!

    2. That's what I presumed. I'm from Warsaw, and my parents received 16+ inches there.