Snow Days … the Perfect Time to Gather and to Connect
One Tuesday back in 2014 I spent over four hours stuck in gridlocked, icy roads desperately trying to drive a carload of 2nd graders back to school from a field trip to anxiously waiting parents. Many a moment along that journey the feat seemed impossible…the kids hadn’t had lunch, some desperately needed to go to the bathroom and there were moments when we would only move a car length in 30 minutes. After lots of prayer and by God’s grace, we finally arrived at school at 4:30 pm and I began the internal debate as to whether I dare get back out in that chaos and brave our way home or just spend the night at school. I soooo badly wanted to be home, yet I was emotionally exhausted by what I had just endured and the heavy weight and responsibility of the safety of all those precious children. But a quick decision had me jumping in the car with a dear friend who had All Wheel Drive…and in less than an hour later we were dropped off at the entrance to our neighborhood where we walked the last mile leg home. I have never been so grateful to be home in all my life…the pause Doug wrote about yesterday was much needed and much deserved after all of the chaos and stress of Tuesday!
And pause we did.
Wednesday came, we were home, we were safe, and we were able to enjoy all that had caused the chaos the day before. What a difference a day makes!
For those of us in the South who don’t get snow that often, there is something about the white covering that is so intriguing, so calming, so relaxing, so beautiful, so inviting…..that is, when you are safe at home and able to enjoy it versus stranded on the roads, stuck, and desperately trying to get home. But when you are safe at home…it’s delightful! Our family has definitely embraced and enjoyed the pause in life that the snow has brought with it. We have been forced to be home because of the road conditions and that has forced us to rest and enjoy!
Yet it has also brought us out of the walls of our home and into the yard and street to play in the snow…..and in turn we have had some great time connecting with our neighbors who were out doing the same thing. A pack of 7 kids formed in our neighborhood yesterday and they spent the majority of the day together…sledding, exploring, having fun and growing their relationships. No school, no sports practices, no music lessons, no meetings, no errands….amazing what some down time does to develop a greater sense of community in the neighborhood. Nothing like a snow day to bring the neighborhood kids together! And the adults too! We ended our day with a four-family potluck dinner at one of our neighbor’s homes that included lots of fun and laughter! We got outside and played and connected…and then we all gathered.
It is amazing how it seems easier to connect with our neighbors when all our schedules and plans and commitments are stripped away. Slowing down, getting outside our walls, spending time with neighbors…it’s so good! I think this is how life is meant to be lived! What a difference a day makes in the relationships we have grown with our neighbors in the last 24 hours.
And the next morning…
… Brown-Brown showed me all her bruises on her legs from all the sledding … evidence of “adventureing” well!
…I read in a book I had been meaning to read for a long time … evidence of pausing well!
… We drank the last of our hot chocolate mix after happily serving most of what we had to the pack of neighborhood kids who spent the afternoon at our home … evidence of gathering well!
… And then our kids went off once again with their neighborhood friends…evidence of connecting well!
We were inspired, encouraged, and motivated to keep this cadence … of pausing, of “adventuring”, of gathering, of connecting, and of living!!!!
The next time it snows (or not!), I hope to find more ways to gather with our neighbors … what about you?
I hope you are encouraged to get outside your four walls and gather together with your neighbors. If you do …. ;et me know about it. I’m sure to be inspired by your stories too!
Sled races down our neighbor’s yard.
Post-exploration rest and debrief.
We love our mudroom…and the fact that it is being well used at this very moment!
Just had to introduce you to Marigold (l) and Hazel (r) on their first steps into the snow!
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I loved playing outside with all of my neighbors this week! I had a great time getting to know all of them. This morning I begged my mom to go play in the snow because sadly it was melting quick. I sledded down the hill with my Little Sis and went to knock on our new friends’ and neighbors’ door. That is how today started and since there is no school tomorrow (YAY!) I hope I get to spend more time with my new friends!
Hey Scott Family!
Well, you know we love a good snow day here in the hood! Luckily one of our streets usually gets too icy for cars, but is the perfect downhill for sledding. All of the neighborhood kids come out from the very youngest, to the grown ups who have just never grown up. We sled, we throw snow balls, we pull things out of the fridge to plop on the kitchen counters to share with whomever is hungry, we sit by the fire that the dads keep burning all day long, we talk, we laugh, we shake our heads when the idea to make a snow jump in the middle of the road is brought up and executed. (Of course it was the men, and not the kids who pulled this off.)
But for me it’s is what happens in between the snow balls that counts the most. The details you find out about your neighbors. The places in your life that they are able to infiltrate over a bowl of soup that might never have happened on a regular Tuesday. I love how it makes our next encounter deeper and more meaningful. i love watching the kids problem solve and figure out social things in a safe place. I love how they care for each other.
So, bring on the snow and ice! We have tried to take every advantage these gifts have given us! (However, I’m not sure this almost 40 year old body can take much more sledding this season!)
Alright Jen…great comment…so much so, we need to make it a post. Send me a pic or 2 and get it up on RYGblog this week. Take care, D.
Oh…I guess I should also comment on your comment. EXACTLY! Love hearing all of this and your insight. This IS what happens when we actually slow down to get to know each other…neighbors, even our own kids! Unfortunately, sometimes it takes Snowmaggedon to make that happen. We’ll learn…take this past week as a lesson…and inch toward finding the margin in our lives to make this more of a natural occurrence. Because…really, THIS is what it’s all about…right? Why we work so hard, why we look for the “right neighborhood”, what we hope for for our kids…for ourselves…to really live. Thanks Jen! Take care, D.