Snow Day Voodoo
~journal entry to my kidlets on the onset of Snowpocalypse 2014 ~
It's a full on, can't be argued with, bright-skied, still-wind, crisp-yet-fluffy SNOW DAY. And I'm pretty positive you two kiddos made it happen.
Only two nights ago, Maggie, you suggested that we all wear our pajamas inside out. This is typically done by accident, never by design. In my mind I raised one inquisitive eyebrow in a perfect Jack Black arch (in reality I simply opened both eyes wider, like Jack Skellington with a botoxed skull). You had more to tell. To continue the intrigue you also stated that we all had to sleep with spoons beneath our pillows. Your kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Thomason, said that these acts of kinder-voodoo would make it snow while we slept. And if teacher says it -- even with a chuckle in her voice and a wink of her eye -- to a kindergartener it's as real as my promise to buy a flock of penguins as pets when you're 50. Not. A. Doubt.
And so you did. You emerged from your bedroom with your purple flannel jammies perfectly buttoned up, seams on the outside, princess face on the inside. You held a shiny metal spoon like a royal scepter and practically begged me to Instagram the moment (though the begging was as silent as the b in womb and I admit I interpreted the beggery from the flailing spoon-in-hand gestures). Then Riv, you shot off to your room like a cat after a laser pointer and in a flurry of Angry Birds underwear you were voodoo-ready, too.
We curled up together on the couch with our chapter book. And in-between the Beavers telling of the return of Aslan and Edmund's escape to seek out the White Witch, you two projected a snowy morning. I tried to soften the expectation with news from the weatherman. The one who lives in my phone and eats magic for breakfast. Then off to bed with inside-out jams and Ikea spoons to sleep upon.
Well the snow wasn't there in the morning, but the freezing temperatures still teased that it could come. The magic-eating weatherman hinted it was on the horizon. So I bundled you up in heavy coats and fuzzy gloves. Then I hugged you outside of school, a little longer than usual, my face buried a bit deeper into the tops of your strawberry-scented heads, soaking in your kid magic, basking in your sweet, unwavering love, relishing the arms that encircled me and hugged me so tightly in return. Then I said, "Your daddy will pick you up after school. I'll see you in 5 days." You already knew that, of course, but it has become a part of our crazy rhythm for me to remind you at dropoff, a ritual of the 50/50 split.
I can't be certain if you staged a second night of inside-out-jammies and spoons under the pillow. Or if one of the other time-honored tricks of snow day voodoo made its way into your imagination coffers: a superstitious toolkit filled with white crayons and ice cubes and spoons of all sizes! Regardless, you did it. You two brought on one helluva brilliant snow day and I'm out in it. The streets are quiet except for pockets of neighbors gathered in driveways in constant smiling chatter. The winds are still except for the persistent swooshing of dog tails. The dogs of North Portland are making a party of it and our own domestic beast will NOT shut up about it. It's like he thinks we gave him a gift and he wants to bark it so everyone knows "Snow day! Snow day! Snow day!" and then frantically searches to find a non-frozen place to poop.
But you are having this snow day at your other house, with the other part of your family. And I am finding ways to not think about you because I wish so very much that we were together. The sledding down the driveway and the twice a day hot cocoa, the 48 hour pajama-fest and the tricking the dog with snowball catch, the bliss at more snow fall and the feeling of living outside of time. I don't think I can express the bi-polarity of being a full-time mom with part-time custody, the constant pull I feel toward you even when you're not with me, the push of resistance that keeps me distracted and constructive. The moments I have without you that I must release up to the air with a faith that they will be carried as wisely as seeds in a spring breeze, and the moments I have with you that I must chew and savor with the patience of a culinarian but the appetite of a castaway.
This snow day belongs to you, and your daddy, and your other family. But it also belongs to me. You gave it to me, after all. Because even as I roam the neighborhood helping the dog find a suitable snow patch to turn yellow, watching your friends run in snow-drunk circles in the middle of the street, I can still feel the kid magic you gave me. I can taste it in my Mexican mocha and feel it in my wool socks. That extra long, strawberry-scented hug must have done the trick. And it couldn't have hurt that I slept with my pajamas on inside-out, too.