WRITTEN BY LISA ALLEN
Far from the horror she feared, the snow was a blessing
The alarm clock drilled deep into Steph’s ears, shaking her awake. Before she’d even lifted her eyelids, a to-do list was scrolling past her tired eyes: school run, food shop, work meeting, unanswered emails… plus everything that had piled into a mountain the past few months.
Luckily, Steph had a plan. She’d stayed up late last night and made a tight schedule. As long as she stuck to it, she might finally catch up with herself. Steph closed her eyes, snuggling under the duvet for a few (scheduled) minutes of tranquillity before…
Steph bolted upright as the bedroom door flung open and two pyjama-clad children launched onto her bed.
“You’re not going to believe it, Mum,” said twelve-year-old Maisie.
“Mummy, it’s actual magic!” said seven-year-old Noah, tugging at Steph’s arms. “Look, come and see.”
Steph padded across the bedroom following her excited children to the window. Like a magician double act Maisie and Noah swept back the curtains. Steph blinked, then shrieked in horror.
A blanket of glittering white snow covered the garden. From the sunken snowdrops to the tops of the trees, the outside world resembled the pages of Noah’s favourite wintry picture book. Snow was falling thick and fast.
“Nooo!” cried Steph.
It can’t snow today. We have to get you to school in an hour. I need to get to my meeting in the city. I’ve to do the food shop after work. Everything’s scheduled to the minute!
Maisie looked at her mum, her button nose scrunching. “Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. There’s like a ruler height of snow out there, Mum. It’s definitely a Snow Day.” Her eyes sparkled at Noah. “And you know what that means.”
“NO SCHOOL!” roared Noah, like a victorious superhero running circles around them, dressing gown flowing out behind him like a cape.
Steph’s phone beeped. She grabbed it and her heart sank. It was a message from school. Due to weather conditions school is closed today. Check school website for updates and online lessons.
“Noah, get your wellies and coat on,” instructed Maisie, steering his shoulders towards the door. “We’re about to make the world’s best snowman!”
“But you haven’t had breakfast yet,” protested Steph. “And you’re still doing school-work today – and I have to work!”
How on earth was she going to home-school two children, supervise snow-time, while juggling her meeting which she’d now have to attend via video conference? There was hardly any food left in the cupboards either.
“Just chill, Mum,” called Maisie, shrugging on a puffer jacket.
“Yeah, Mummy,” copied Noah, wriggling into wellies while Maisie planted a giant pair of earmuffs on his head. “Just chill.”
Steph’s eyelid dropped, fingers pinching her temple. Chill? Easier said than done, she thought dismally looking at her ever-growing to-do list.
Steph kept one eye on the window as she watched Maisie and Noah chucking fistfuls of snow around the snowman they’d just built, the other eye hovering on her laptop.
The work meeting had been switched to video call and was coming to an end. Steph’s boss had even praised the project Steph was overseeing, and the pressure of work was starting to melt away as she closed her laptop.
Outside, Maisie and Noah were laughing their heads off as they chased each other across the garden. Steph smiled, their happiness was contagious.
She remembered doing the same on snow days with her sisters when they had all been Maisie and Noah’s ages. A pain pressed Steph’s chest. Had she become so bogged down in the daily treadmill that she was missing out on what was most important – enjoying life with her family?
Steph scanned the kitchen cupboards, cobbling together jam sandwiches, chopping up fruit, and there was even some shop-bought cake hidden right at the back. She spread a picnic blanket on the lounge floor, propped up Maisie’s and Noah’s teddy bears around plates of food and cups of lemonade.
Maisie and Noah paused their snowball fight, pressing their curious noses up against the patio doors.
Steph slid the glass back, grinning. “Who’s up for another snowball fight, followed by a teddy bears’ picnic?”
Noah and Maisie exchanged a look before pulling Steph out the door by her arms with excited squeals.
As snowballs hurtled through the glittering cold air, Steph’s heart glowed bright and warm with joy.
Her list of tasks and chores could wait until tomorrow… or whenever…