|Hide and Seek: Can You Spot the Missing Keys?|
Some days simply do not go as I expect. I'm normally a huge fan of snow days. I love an excuse to do nothing - to make pancakes, sip hot chocolate, play in the snow and read books . But I really didn't want a snow day today. Instead, what I wanted was the start of routine. I wanted to have a full week of school since last week started on Tuesday and next week is also a four day week. I wanted to catch up on the laundry that has been piling up gradually in our home since Christmas break started. I wanted to help our home recuperate from my illness last week. Because when I am sick, nothing but the essentials occur.
So I tried a different approach. We did a math investigation together - where we discussed probability, then tried it ourselves, taking turns rolling the die, making the tally marks, calculating the frequency. There was some grumbling, a few dirty looks that we were actually (gasp!) learning on a snow day when all the world was sledding, drinking hot chocolate or watching TV (or so said my children). But it was nothing compared to the reactions to my next request: "K, please go and clean your room. I will set the timer and you can work for 15 minutes before taking a break. A, please collect the lights. B, you get the darks. Bring them to the basement for me so that I can start the laundry." This elicited a fit from K, tears from B, sighs and glares from A. Fun times.
I did not back down. I explained that we needed to get caught up on chores since things went undone last Thursday and Friday. They did not care. I decided a walk in the snow was in order. At a minimum, some time outside would hopefully freeze their tongues and defrost their bad moods. So K read a chapter of her book to me while I folded one load of laundry. Then we bundled up and headed out. First stop at a neighbor's house, to see if they wanted to join us for a walk. They did!
We headed down the street and found other neighbors sledding down a hill. We joined them, standing and chatting about schools, parenting, life's odds and ends. After a bit of sledding, A was cold. I gave her the keys to the house and told her she could head home to warm up. B continued going down and up the hill, finding just the right track for optimum speed and experimenting with various sledding partners. K played with friends, threw a few snowballs, got caught in some vegetation. All was well. I was a bit cold, but the girls were no longer grumpy and I was therefore feeling much better myself.
And then A reappeared. "I lost the keys," she said. "You lost the keys?" I repeated, all words other words fleeing my mind, so using hers instead. OK, then. Let's look for them. After a few minutes of getting B & K collected and off the sled, we head towards home, carefully backtracking via A's earlier route. We looked in snow covered grass, on snow covered sidewalks. No keys. Mumbled apologies from A. Curt nods from me.
We head back, me hoping that B's window is unlocked and we can climb in. I'd left without my phone and was unable to even call J to request help. The window? Locked. I slog back out to the street to find my neighbor, borrow her phone, ask if we can warm up in her home until J arrives.
My neighbor J is gracious and kind. She offers snacks, hot tea, company for me and my girls. And a crisis is averted. Her boys are not fighting with each other. My girls are not snapping at me or each other. We are warm. I am thankful.
My day didn't go as I planned. I have laundry in the washer, laundry to be washed, more to be folded. The dining room needs to be vacuumed. But my children are happier. Those lost keys? They brought a few blessings: My husband was able to join us for a game of Yahtzee since he was home in the afternoon. I got to know my neighbor better. I let go of my agenda when A let go of the keys. And A? I hope she learned to hold fast to the keys if she actually wants to get home. But I hope she also learned that sometimes letting go is the key to enjoying the day.