The Magic of a Snow Day in the South

Snow day. When I was a kid, those words were like music to my ears. I didn’t hear them often growing up near the southern coast of Virginia. We didn’t have snow boots or snow pants or even a sled. When it snowed, we just put on tights under our jeans and played outside until our skin stung. I’d peel off wet layers to reveal cold, red legs that could only be warmed by pj’s and blankets and playing Barbies on my shag carpet.

When I was really little, I wore my Snoopy rubber rain boots in the snow, the ones that said “Good” on the left foot and “Grief” on the right, except I could never remember whether it was “Good Grief” or “Grief Good.” I wasn’t a Snoopy fan really. The snow was pretty deep one year and when I ran, those rubber boots stayed in the snow and my stocking feet came out. I guess I grew into those boots before I grew out of them. Later I’d just wear tennis shoes in the snow and I never remember the snow being higher than the laces most years anyway.


There’s nothing like making those first footprints in the snow.

We didn’t have hills to sled down. When we made a snowman, the trail the ball made exposed the grass in the yard. I always hated that. If it had snowed enough to even cover the grass, it seemed like a pretty good snow. It was something. A dusting was a disappointment. It could be all you got until next year and that was a long time to wait.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I saw a lot of snow. In the mountains, we got feet of snow and I loved it. There were hills for sledding. And trash bags and cafeteria trays made the perfect vehicles for getting down those hills fast. Sidewalks became ice slicks and the only way down was to crouch down low and slide or lie on your belly like a penguin and laugh because who knew getting from there to here could be so much fun?

As a parent now, snow day sometimes means other things, like dread. And that’s a shame. It’s a shame I sometimes, for a moment, forget about the magic of snow. I want my kids to have the same fun I did. In the South we don’t get snow very often. We certainly don’t get a good snow every year. It’s a gift. So we miss a few days of school. (OK, so we miss a few days of school for an inch or two of snow.) But there is nothing better on a cold gray day than watching snowflakes fall, hearing the excitement in your kids’ voices, and knowing you actually can go out in the snow and play with them.

Today they are waiting to play in the accumulation we got yesterday that barely covers the grass. “Will we be able to sled?” We’ll sure try.

Yeah, I hate the cleanup. I hate the slushy puddles on the floor when we come in. But I love that I can get my work done and run upstairs and play a game with my kids or snuggle and watch a movie while we thaw. My husband has an hour to play in the snow before he has to brave snowy Southern roads and go into work. We’ll sled. We’ll throw snowballs. We don’t get this chance every year. And even if it disrupts grown-up life for a little while, we have to remember to get out there and be kids again. That’s part of the magic too.Southern snow



Filed under Family

25 responses to “The Magic of a Snow Day in the South

  1. We spent our first Christmas with the in-laws (my wife’s parents) last year, and being from Texas ourselves and them from Missouri, it was the first time our 4yr old got to see snow. The excitement he had when he saw the flakes falling, naturally made a big deal over by my wife ahead of time, was great to see. He enjoyed it tremendously, even if it didn’t snow quite as much as hoped. Having lived in Texas the majority of my life, it’s never been a big deal to me personally, but I can see the allure for those that it is and am sometimes envious.

    • I certainly could never live in a place up north where it is constant. I guess with a Southern background, once a year is enough for me! After a few days, I am done until the next year. But it is always nice to stop for a day or two and enjoy it. It’s fun to watch the kids the first time they see it. Neither of my kids liked it the first time they played in it.

  2. I love snow! But we do not seem to be getting any this year… only rain and wind and more rain…. If it does snow the people here (not being used to it) get a bit crazy and chaotic and in the end everyone is stressed out. But I still love those white soft snowflakes…

    • It gets really crazy around here. People rush to the store, the lines are to the back of the store sometimes. And people can’t drive for anything in it. I went to school in the mountains and I learned a little bit about driving in it. But they really don’t plow the roads well here and that is the biggest problem. Then it continues to melt and freeze over for days. Talk about chaos and stress! So it’s nice to be able to stay in sometimes. 😉

  3. Your child-self would love southern VA today; we got about 7″ or 8″ today. I got a snow day from work so I’m a fan. Lol. 🙂

    • I think when I was in middle school (maybe high school?) we got a big storm and had about that much. People lost power and we didn’t have school for several days. It was rare. It’s rare here in NC too but we sometimes get it. My kids seem to get a little more snow than I did as a kid though.

      Enjoy your snow day!

      • They’ve already closed most everything for tomorrow since we have yet to see snow plows nearby, and it’s going to be cold tonight. I don’t mind as I work for the city and they closed that too. My hubby works for Wal-Mart so he gets to work tomorrow, but he’s a Wisconsin boy with a 4-wheel drive SUV so he’ll manage.

        I’m from DE originally, and I agree. I never remember it snowing as much here or there as it has in the last five years.

  4. so true! when it comes to snow i often can’t see past my own distaste. i hate it all, the cold, the mess, the bundling… it’s pretty for a moment, yes, but, i’m over it just as it begins. my kids on the other hand – love! so now that they’re a bit bigger and can run out and play by themselves while i make them hot cocoa inside, we’re all happy. lovely

  5. Oh I so loved this. I can only vaguely remember the winter of 1963, but we had snow here in the UK at Easter in 2008. It was the first time our dog had seen it. We just woke up Easter Sunday, and everything was white. I love making those virgin footprints too. Makes me feel like an explorer in uncharted territory. To confuse ‘the enemy’, I’d hop on one foot, cross my footsteps the wrong way or walk sideways (I’m in my 50s!). We’ve had several heavy snowfalls since, and it’s great to watch kids and adults alike on taboggans racing down usually green grassy slopes.

    • Oh, that reminds me of Ezra Jack Keats’ book Snowy Day, making footprints. Snows are something special when you don’t have them regularly. And I’m glad I don’t have them regularly. Just enough, I’d say. 🙂

      This was the first snow for our new dog so it’s been fun watching him and seeing how he reacts. He runs like crazy and then darts inside to recover. At least he’ll go out in it.

  6. K. Eley

    I am not a snow person, so when we moved to Charlotte I loved the mild winters. We just got one of those rare snowfalls that I dread. Hearing the kids excitement this morning, I sucked it up and put on my snow gear. I must say snow memories can be some of the best. We walked around a pond and watched the geese and ducks brave the cold, went sledding, and talked to people we don’t see so often in our busy lives. Even though I dread these rare snowfalls, in a way it is a small gift. Enjoy your snow day!

    • It’s already melting on us but the kids have enjoyed it. Around here you do have to get out in it early before it leaves sometimes.

      We had some interesting animal tracks around our house this morning. Not sure what they were and not sure we want to know!

  7. Wonderful post. I remember the slushy clean-up well. Now when we get a snow day, my kids are just happy to be out of school. At their age, they don’t really want to play outside in the snow. They much prefer to annoy each other inside the house, much to my chagrin…

  8. Lisa

    We now have snow pants and boots but I would gladly give them up and revert back to jeans if that means we could get some wet snow. Another five inches last night and dry as it can be.

  9. Reblogged this on everythingmommy2009 and commented:
    Since I live in Las Vegas and the weather is sunny 65, I wanted to step into the world where there actually 4 seasons…although I am happy to take my 65 over the cold white stuff that is causing so much chaos!

  10. Sounds like a day of fun.
    I loved snow days as a kid. One thing I liked is that everyone was out (shoveling most likely) and there was a sense of neighborliness. We were going to get through together.
    I still enjoy snow days today – almost as much as my kids.

  11. Your words remind me that the best moments with our kids are the most simple and surprising. Beautiful words.

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