Snow Fairies

I apologize for not posting yesterday. It was the last classes of the semester, so I was distracted with celebrations.

We saw our first snow Wednesday night. Big, fat flakes of white swirling lazily towards the frozen grass.

“I told myself I wouldn’t hope, I’m not hoping, I told myself I wouldn’t, do you think they might cancel school tomorrow?” Younger chanted, roaming from window to window.

The next day as he strapped himself into the seat next to me in the car, his backpack tossed carelessly in the back, he muttered, “This is the worst day of my life.”

He’s seventeen.

And is still being betrayed by the snow fairies.

Life is hard when even the fairies are out to get you.

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Told You

For the record, I do not like driving on snow.

I do not even like driving when snow appears imminent.

Just for the record.

So, this morning, as I prepared to head into the treachery of white, I looked at Younger, who was gloating in the bask of a second day off school, and stated, “You have to stop hoping for snow. Seriously.”

“No. Never. Not even in the summer.” He patted my shoulder. “I can have a snow day, and you can survive driving on snow. Both are possible.”

“Stop. Hoping. For. Snow.”

“You’ll make it, Mom.”

I did, actually. At about twenty-five miles per hour. With a string of traffic behind me.

But specifics really aren’t important.

What is important is I made it.

In the parking lot of my work, I texted Younger of my success. He wrote back, “Told u.”

Which means snow will still factor into his hopes and dreams.

Which means even if I survive the snow . . .

Younger may not.

No More Pencils, No More Books…

Seniors always finish the school year before the other students.

Always.

Somehow, though, Younger, despite conversations at home and celebrations at school, had not picked up on that one simple fact.

“You mean,” he launched immediately upon opening my truck door after school last Tuesday, “that today is Elder’s last day of school?”

Confused, I studied him, tilting my head to the side. “Yeah.”

“You’re telling me that he doesn’t have to go back tomorrow?” he continued, throwing his duffel bag over the seat into the back floorboard.

“Um, yeah.”

“And I don’t get done until Friday?” he demanded. Then he slumped in his seat, arms crossed over his chest. “How is that even fair?”

Elder may not be in a hurry to leave high school, but Younger, well, his senior year may be the only year he never prays for snow…

Let It Snow, Please

Before Thanksgiving, Younger had his first snow day. He thought he was hitting the jackpot of winters.

He’s not had a single snow day since. And he’s pretty sure that’s all kinds of wrong.

Then he saw snow in the forecast for yesterday.

He tried to remain a snow pessimist, but the school dismissed all after-school activities because a bit of freezing rain was falling. And he saw a glimmer of hope.

And when he burst through the back door, he had a grin stretching from cheek to cheek. “I know, I know,” he assured me. “I’ve told myself not to expect snow. I was telling myself, ‘Don’t expect snow.’ But when I started running down our driveway, I suddenly landed on my butt. And if our driveway is already slick, then…” He sobered for a moment. “That poor cat, though.”

I don’t know what happened to the cat in the moment Younger went airborne or the moment he was suddenly not airborne, most likely.

I was too amused by his butt being used as a weather consultant.

Which turned out not to have any more accuracy than the actual forecasters.

He did not have a smile when I woke him for school this morning.

I know that’s a rough day for all of us, that day when we first realize we can’t trust our butt…

Know It All

Younger spent his last day of Christmas vacation hoping for snow.

He’s always hoped for snow.

Or fire, earthquake, or volcano eruption.

Even in 2008 when he was in the second grade…

Younger does not like school.  He doesn’t understand why he has to go for five days a week.  He doesn’t understand why he has to go for nine months out of the year.  He doesn’t understand why the inventor of school ever had a reason to torture innocent, little children.  And he wants to know who he was, this Machiavellian scroundel who thought to force little boys into chairs and bore them by repeating information they already have.

 Because Younger already knows it all.

 “I’m not learning anything,” he announced from the back seat of the truck,  one fine Monday morning.

I choked on a laugh.  “Younger…”

“Well, I’m not.  You think I am.  But I’m not.”

 “You are learning something,” I told him, cheerfully.  “You’re learning to sit quietly even when you are bored.”

 He mumbled something, which I pretended not to hear, and the conversation was dropped for a day or two, until a Sunday night when Isaiah realized that apparently snow was not going to save him from school the next day.

 “And they’re wrong, just wrong,” he concluded after a magnificent tirade.  “They think they’re right.  But they’re wrong.”

 “Younger…”

“They say it’s a fun place to learn,” he said, emphasizing his ire with a stomp of his foot.  “But I ain’t learning anything.  AND IT AIN’T FUN!”

 And apparently he has to say a pledge to the school with those exact words, which he finds morally reprehensible.  They shouldn’t make you say it, he has advocated, if you don’t mean it.

And he doesn’t mean it.

 And now even I am counting down the days left of school…

In One Ear

Whenever I cook chili, I also bake cornbread muffins, which Younger and I prefer to crackers. So, last Sunday night, with snow falling and temperatures dropping, I had a big pot of chili bubbling on the stove and muffins fluffing in the oven.

Monday, however, as I started gathering ingredients for the muffins, I realized I had not restocked my kitchen with the paper liners for my pan. So, as Younger wandered into the kitchen in search of some leftover chili, I explained the dilemma.

“Hey,” I said. “I can’t make the corn muffins tonight, so I’m just going to make straight cornbread.” I even spelled out, “Same thing, you just have to cut it into individual pieces.”

And I pointed to the pan with freshly mixed batter on the counter.

Younger dropped his gaze towards the pan. Then he ventured to the refrigerator, tugged on the door, peered inside, frowned, glanced at the large container of chili already set out on the counter then shut the door.

“I just have one question,” he finally said. “Where are those muffin-y, cornbread-y things you usually make with chili?”

My mouth fell open. “What did I just say?” I asked, my voice hitting a few high notes. “What did I just say?”

Younger blinked at me. I stared at him.

I could almost hear the gears stumbling and stuttering into delayed action.

Then he grinned. “I wasn’t thinking.”

“Thinking?” I repeated. “You weren’t listening is what.”

“No, no,” he assured me, patting the air with his palms in a supposed soothing motion. “I was listening. But I wasn’t thinking.”

So now I know why when he wears those little headsets and listens for the beeps, he raises his hand at every single one.

But when I ask him to clean his room, he never even flinches.

Because one is apparently hearing. And the other is thinking.

In one ear…and out the other…with no chance of getting caught in between.

A Sick Day

Younger is home from school today.  Just as he was yesterday.

That’s right.

After two snow days, during which he could have been sick with impunity, he decides to succumb to a stomach virus on the very exact day everyone else is returning to school. One would almost believe it was all a dramatic plan of bamboozlement. But he’s not quite that accomplished an actor.

I don’t think.

But, anyway, he’s home, sprawled on the sofa with a jug of water, a bottle of Sprite, and a package of crackers close to hand. After supplying him with these few needs and nearing the end of my lunch hour, I asked him to let me know if he planned to take a nap, so I wouldn’t worry if he didn’t return a checking-in text.

So, a little while after returning to work, I received this text…

“I keep falling awake.”

I studied the words for a minute then replied, “Well, most people have the opposite problem.”

“See I think I’m awake,” he wrote, “then I wake up.”

“Maybe you should just give up and take a nap.”

“But I might be napping now.”

I shook my head then typed, “Only if I’m the one dreaming.”

“Unless dreams exist in their own plane of existence.”

Battling a headache myself, I replied, “I don’t think I’m up to maintaining this conversation right now.”

And with true generosity, he typed back, “We will continue it in your dreams.”

In my nightmares, more like.

Don’t some people advocate small doses of alcohol for sick kids? To help them sleep or something?

Or is that large doses of alcohol for the parent?