As kids, when snow began to fall in earnest, many of us waited with bated breath, fingers crossed, for word of school closings. Snow days were a special treat; an unexpected holiday, a chance to trade in books and blackboards for sleds and snowball fights.
Over the past year, in light of escalating stress over the pandemic and its far-ranging fallout, it was sometimes hard to keep sight of life’s simple joys, but in Jefferson County, West Virginia, school superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson never lost focus on the bigger picture and what truly matters.
When a major snowstorm was forecast for her district, Gibson took the initiative to close the schools, but she also seized the moment to remind her community that nourishing the spirit is sometimes just as important as fueling the intellect.
The carpe diem announcement she posted to Facebook, reminding parents to simply enjoy this time out of time to let their kids just be kids quickly snowballed in popularity, garnering in the neighborhood of 17,000 shares in just a few days:
“For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy. It is a time of renewed wonder at all the beautiful things that each season holds. A reminder of how fleeting a childhood can be. An opportunity to make some memories with your family that you hold onto for life.”
… It has been a year of seemingly endless loss and the stress of trying to make up for that loss. For just a moment, we can all let go of the worry of making up for the many things we missed by making sure this is one thing our kids won’t lose this year.
So please, enjoy a day of sledding and hot chocolate and cozy fires. Take pictures of your kids in snow hats they will outgrow by next year and read books that you have wanted to lose yourself in, but haven’t had the time. We will return to the serious and urgent business of growing up on Thursday, but for tomorrow—go build a snowman.”
Snowstorms come and go, but creating memories with our loved ones can last a lifetime. Now, perhaps more than ever, when we’re blessed with the unexpected opportunity to write a joyful chapter in our family history books, we should welcome it with open hearts.
Think of it as stocking up for the future.
Cherished remembrances of the simple shared pleasures we forge today may well offer strength and comfort in challenging times, and ultimately, be what sustains us and gives us hope for brighter days ahead.