Outside, the world looked like a juggled snow globe.
Fat flakes swirl around in icy water, frantically at first and then slowly, as if deciding where to land. It was all beautifully precarious.
Inside, our world seems equally tumultuous.
A boy and girl dance around the house, celebrating this unexpected day off with mirth and glee, as well as a fantastic fight over the remote control.
“It's my turn to pick the movie,” shouts one as the other hollers: “You picked last time.” Of course, it doesn't matter which one said what, they both believe it should have been their turn.
I used to love snow days. The sledding. The snow fort building. The snow-encrusted mittens drying on the radiator. A day made of frozen sweet confection, wrapped in white icing and offered up insistently by Mother Nature.
She wouldn't take No for an answer.
Unlike myself. I take No as a question.
Wouldn't you like to play a game? No?
How about we make Christmas cookies? No?
I suppose the idea of you kids going out into the snow isn't going to happen either is it? No?
I didn't want to do any of those things either, truth be told. If we played a game, they would just fight over the rules. If we made cookies, it would just be the “Royal We” baking. And if we went out in the snow I would have to be out in it, too. Freezing.
Let's just skip to the hot chocolate, shall we? The kind with mini marshmallows, of course.
No cocoa? You've got to be kidding.
Of course, I'm not kidding … Now I remember what I forgot at the grocery store.
The snow has turned to rain. Freezing rain.
I feel better. The fact that we're not outside has shifted from failure to fortune. Which means now the kids want to build a snowman.
“This is the worst snow day ever,” says one of them.
It doesn't matter which one. They speak for each other, even if they don't admit such sibling harmony exists between them.
It's cold all of a sudden. In the living room. The fire's gone out.
As I get it going again, the kids huddle together on the couch under a blanket.
They are whispering, which is good, since the weather and the bickering have left me with a tension headache. And then they are gone.
“Do you have any boxes?”
“Can we have some wrapping paper?”
I am happy for the truce and show them where they can find such things.
They disappear upstairs, where I hear not a peep nor a rustle for more than an hour.
One after the other they traipse down with packages and bags festooned with ribbons and bows and rolls' worth of Magic tape, and tuck them under the tree.
Each strangely shaped package was marked with its intended recipient: Dad. Mom. Grandma. Grandpa.
The biggest ones were dedicated to each other: My Little Bother and My Big Blister.
So much for sibling rivalry and snow days.