Snow Daze

In Family, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on February 12, 2010 at 10:41 am

Last winter, when we decided to move to Texas, we soaked up every ounce of New York snow.  Although we were tired of shoveling it, and didn’t like driving in it, snow had been a part of who we were for our entire lives.  We took pictures and video of the kids playing in the snow with a sense of guilt, thinking that they would no longer get to enjoy moments like these again.  We were wrong!

It started with a white Christmas (something that we rarely experienced in New York).  There were only a few of inches of snow, and it didn’t last long, but it made the holidays feel more like home for us.  As a native New Yorker, it was hard to imagine getting into the spirit of the holiday if it had been warm and sunny outside on Christmas.

Since that time, there have been days that felt like spring in New York, but overall, the winter has felt pretty “normal” for us.  It is funny how perspective changes.  Texans seem to be somewhat traumatized by the winter that they’ve experienced so far, while I have reveled in it.  The snow that I used to dread in New York is now a sight for sore eyes – partially because I don’t have to shovel it, but mostly because you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  However, there have been some frustrating moments caused by the weather.

School starts an hour earlier here, so getting my son up and ready is somewhat of a challenge.  Despite my best efforts, I usually find myself having to deal with one issue or another with one of my children to get them out the door.  Needless to say, the mornings on non-school days are much more relaxing than school day mornings, and they are something that I look forward to.

About a month ago, I was driving my son to school, and there was no traffic leading up to the building.  It was cold out, but there was not a flake of snow on the ground, so there was no reason for me to check for school closings before venturing out.  Or so I thought!  Apparently, the roads were a bit icy early in the morning when the decisions are made.  As much as I like my son’s elementary school, their system for alerting parents of school closings failed me and the few other parents that ended up in the parking lot.  A woman from Iowa who had also recently relocated was as perplexed as I was about the school closing.

Yesterday, the snow was coming down hard, and it was already sticking to the ground in the morning, but no school closing.  I kept checking the news and school website, but no mention of a closing.  When we arrived at the school, it was a slushy mess.  As the day progressed, the snow continued to fall at a rapid rate, making Texas look very much like New York in the winter.  When I asked my wife about the possibility of early dismissal, she assured me that they would call us if that was going to happen.  Apparently not!

The school had been dismissed for nearly 30 minutes when we got the call to come and pick up my son.  When I asked why I wasn’t notified, I was told that my phone must have been busy, and that the information was on the website.  I said that our cell phones were not busy, and that I was not spending the day on the website checking for an early dismissal.  When I arrived at the school, there were around ten kids waiting to be picked up.  That seemed like a lot of busy signals to me (in the age of call-waiting).

I’ve learned some lessons being in Texas for one of the snowiest winters in the history of the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

First of all, the beauty of snow is in the eye of the beholder.  Kids always like it, adults tend not to.  I was one of those adults, until I thought that I wouldn’t get to see snow anymore, and then my opinion changed.  People who grew up with snow appreciate seeing it around here, while native Texans long for their relatively mild winters.

Next, it was reinforced that practice makes perfect.  I was always amazed at how the snowiest regions of New York always seemed to have their roads cleared the fastest.  Long Island always paled in comparison to upstate New York when it came to snow preparedness, but they are miles ahead of Texas, particularly in their school closing procedures.

Finally, I have been reminded to appreciate the things that I have while pursuing the things that I want in the future, and not to take things for granted.  Sometimes it takes losing something to realize how much it meant to you.  I’m not saying that I miss the days of shoveling, but I do have a newfound appreciation for the joy that snow brings to children.

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