Yes, the snow day, although it seems like a distant dream now living in Florida for the past ten years, it is the most sacred of unexpected gifts. A day in which life was supposed to have a schedule, a plan, assignments due and lessons to be taught but seemingly somewhere high above us in the in the atmosphere the freezing temperatures collided with a small amount of moisture in the air and produced the beautiful and individually unique snowflake (actually quite a large amount of the beautiful crystals) to produce this sacred of all days, which happens to be a school day. Hanging up the phone, now fully aware that the day has completely changed direction, I don't snuggle down deep under my warm and toasty down duvet to fall back asleep unhindered by the alarm clock which has been turned off. Nope, I'm up, embracing the day, full of both energy and excitement for I have been given the gift of time, our only true commodity, and I intend to make the most of the day. First order, coffee!
Why does the coffee taste that much better on this day? I sit in the kitchen, gazing out the frosty window, watching the snow slowly cover the remaining pieces of patio furniture and pots left out for the winter. I am completely present in the moment, tasting the warm, rich coffee and sensing the bitter cold just slightly through the glass with each gust of frigid air, sending a shiver that brings the coffee mug inadvertently closer to my face for warmth. The possibilities are endless, books to be read, soup to be made, a driveway that will eventually need to be shoveled while the quiet of the snow mutes sounds both inside and out creating a blank canvas to be filled.
Capturing the gift of the snow day fifteen years later was not as difficult as you might imagine. I have come to realize that the unexpected gift is possible each and everyday. As a person who is rarely quiet or not in motion, I aspire to recreate the snow day in my subtropical Florida life. My children are growing up and soon my role as a mother will change forever, I want to hold onto each moment and be cognizant in order to appreciate each one and celebrate them as unique snowflakes on the landscape, which I recognize as motherhood. Each small choice that we make within our days determines the lives that we will live. Be grateful each day, make the conscious effort to be a part of the chain of events that is not random but an ever flowing cycle of causes and effects that we call life.
In order to be grateful for each day a new habit must be formed, a behavior changed, and a target set. Luck favors the prepared, my favorite phrase, comprised of four small words is an inexplicable belief in the idea of luck blended with the tangible facets both worth ethic and self-regulation, a paradox, but one that I believe to be complementary. My unexpected gift of a snow day might not have been as magical, if I had not been prepared. Believing in luck may be juvenile and misguided but regardless, I religiously completed my lesson plans, stocked the pantry shelves and hauled firewood inside the evening before the predicted storm. Life goes by incredibly fast and seemingly the older I get the faster it goes, therefore catching a moment and knowing to savor it is the art of practicing gratitude. The more I practice the more unexpected gifts I find. Teaching my children and students to be grateful and prepared so they too may find the unexpected gifts often feels as though my gentle reminders and thoughtful lessons fall upon deaf ears. I know that learning to appreciate the now is a conscious decision, a habit built from practice of choosing to be grateful. Learning to embrace the now and appreciate the good old days, while living them, may seem like an improbable task but it is the art of finding the unexpected gift that will give you a glimpse into the "good ole days" while you are still living them.
Attempting to throw back the covers and leave the safety of the confines of that warm, toasty duvet behind, and embrace each day as an unexpected gift is the challenge. A snow day is to be cherished and appreciated for what it is, a gift of time. It must be believed in like luck in order for the magic to unfold and carry us from one struggle to the next. As Clarrissa Pinkola Estes wrote "The only trust required is to know that when there is one ending there will be another beginning." Each day brings a new opportunity to try again, to become our best selves and to cherish the unexpected gifts in our midst.