Dear Old Man Winter, We have had enough. Sincerely, Everyone. I wish me writing that would actually make a difference, but it won’t.
Yes, it is March, and the River Bend region has been known to have wintry weather during the month, but this can stop now.
This winter has been a new experience for me. Before becoming the public relations director for Riverbend Head Start and Family Services last summer, I had forgotten what a snow day was. I spent 10 years working in television. When you work in media, you don’t have snow days, ever. Part of your job is to go to work to inform the public that it is too dangerous to be out. If you think there is a chance you won’t be able to make it to work, you either sleep at the station, get a hotel room or a colleague will be deployed to your home to bring you in. For years, I watched my friends post pictures on Facebook of them playing in the snow with their children and read their status updates about how late they got to sleep in. I envied them. I wanted a snow day.
In December, I got to experience my first snow day since high school. I got some extra time to bond with my 14-month-old daughter. We played hide-and-seek, built block towers, read books. It was fun! But there is another side of snow days. It’s stressful for families. They have to readjust plans on the fly because mom and dad may still have to go to work even if school is cancelled. They have to find child care at the last minute and deal with kids who are going stir crazy after a few days of being home.
This has been a tough winter for the school districts, too. Do you cancel classes or not? It’s all about keeping children and staff safe, so you don’t want to make the wrong call. Then, there are the make-up day discussions. I have been involved in some of those discussions at Riverbend Head Start and Family Services. We know families and staff make plans in advance. Do you take away a holiday, cut spring breaks short, or extend the school year? I know some school districts have explored all the above.
These snow days are disruptive to the students too. Since winter break, there have been few weeks when the kids have made it through an entire week without a day off. How can they get in a routine in the classroom or retain all they are learning when they are off for days at a time?
This winter is tough on businesses, too. Everyone has deadlines and goals to meet, regardless of the weather.
I could go on and on, but instead I am going to daydream. Close your eyes and imagine that it’s 80 degrees. There is a nice breeze coming off the river that’s blowing through your hair. You are sitting by a pool and drinking a big glass of iced tea. You are relaxed because the weather isn’t interfering with any of your plans.
I can dream for now, but this is the River Bend, so let’s be real. In six months, I will be writing about how I can’t stand the heat and humidity.
Kristen Gosling is public relations director for Riverbend Head Start and Family Services.