As the white glitter fell from the sky late this week, I like many of my fellow suburbanites wondered aloud, “Seriously?” The snow this half of the season has come on strong. Weather patterns or Mother Nature having decided the winter is not yet finished with those of us within reach of its grasp. During the move in late November we lucked out, taking the final weekend of decent weather with us into the new house. It was well-timed for sure. Now we sit quietly behind the walls of our home and wait for a break in the weather. And its snowed twice this week, just to reinforce my thinking.
I can still remember the joy I held on to as a child for snow days. It would begin the night before, with my parents paying closer attention to the news and considering options for babysitters. There was not option for them which included staying home with two boys – no sir – they had to work and that meant we might be shipped off to any number of places. One choice was my grandmother, who used to take care of us after school, but she wasn’t always feeling up to it (on account of cancer I’d learn later). We knew the rules here and I usually read books, watched sports with my brother or picked up sticks in the backyard for money I could use at the corner store. One other option might be Marie, who lived on the other side of town where the old industrial bones of Rockford existed. She had a grandson who was a year younger than I, and we spent some summer days there. Marie listened to a lot of AM radio during the day, and sent the three of us outside to watch her soaps during the afternoon. Her place is also where I saw my first velvet Elvis, which was both odd and striking. Either way, my mother would find a place for us to go, because leaving two boys at home alone was akin to inviting the apocalypse to knock on her front door. Not because of my brother Brian. He’d be just as happy sorting his baseball cards or playing something sports related in the small backyard we had. If the apocalypse was coming to greet anyone at the house I lived in, it was keen to shake hands with me.
I was (am) a problem child.
My youngest is much the same way. The thought of leaving him home alone is tantamount to inducing a panic attack in me. At ten, he’s not responsible enough to be left by himself for any long period of time because that stormcrow which would look for me at a young age might click its heels together in joy and rush to knock on the door. Charles can be responsible, he can be organized (as much as any ten year old really is), he can be forthright and honest, but he can also be a freaking ten year old. Leaving him home alone and in charge is not fair to him. He has years before the state considers him responsible enough, but this isn’t something that everyone considers when making decisions. Those considerations have consequences.
I have a series of trips out my garage door today, shovel in hand. There are no snow days for this adult. They’ve blown into the past along with baseball card sorting, episodes of General Hospital, and the mid gyration velvet Elvis of my youth.
Addendum: There’s no good in being jealous. Although as humans it’s hard not to be. I follow several emerging writers on social media, and watching them get signed book deals is both inspiring and frustrating. Great artists will tell you not to compare yourself to others, not to just your success by the success of others, but there is something corporeal within everyone that cannot be held back. We all want to do well, but there’s no guarantee that we will, even if what we create is good. I saw a thread by a very successful writer who talked about being jealous even at their level, which is considerable. I think it’s okay to be jealous, at least for a moment.