School was called off for today before I even went to bed last night. It meant that my sister and I leisurely watched a movie and then talked for a while before curling up to fall asleep. This morning, the snow hadn’t started yet so I went out of the house for a couple of hours, returning as the snow began to lie thick on the roads. Ideally, though, I would have been still tucked away in my bed or perhaps snuggled on the couch with a cup of coffee as I turned through my latest book.
In high school, I was surprised when I heard that on snow days kids went to go hang out at the mall. For me, it was an unthinkable action. Why would I go out into the blustery weather when that was the exact reason I wasn’t at school? I also was gifted with a father who would have unquestionably smacked me with a hearty dose of common sense if I would have even asked to drive to town despite the weather. Being at home was actually what I wanted to do anyway. While I liked school, I didn’t mind a day of sleeping in and being home. The same still holds true as an adult.
I grew up slow.
By that, I mean, as I grew up, we moved slowly.
I look at the schedules my students have or the schedules of kids and it looks so different from my youth. In elementary school, I usually rode the bus home and I was there until the next day when I left for school. My mom made supper and we all ate together. Sometimes the older siblings were running off to practice or games, but we almost always ate supper around our dining room table.
My summers were quiet, too. Sometimes we explored the farm or watched too much TV or read book after book. But it was slow, with plenty of time and space for us to play in the hay loft or read through book lists with forty to fifty titles. It wasn’t perfection, although my memory tends to cast an overly rosy hue on the days of my childhood. However, it had the great beauty of not being rushed.
There are some downfalls, too. I never played on a softball team as a child and so I prefer not to play when my extended family plays during the summer get-togethers. Living in the country made swimming lessons more complicated and so I’m a pretty terrible swimmer. I would go from the end of May until mid-August with only seeing my friends at church or randomly running into them at the grocery store. Those seem like rather small things, though, when I consider how good the space was for my heart and for the development of my person.
Over the past couple of weeks, I told my parents about how my youth was slow and they both looked at me as if uncertain if this was a compliment or a critique. If I had to choose, it is more of a compliment, but it is simply an observation, a look at what I had and how it seems like one would be entirely swimming against the current to provide the same type of childhood. My parents sacrificed a lot for their children, but they were also fine with saying “no” to many things. And I am grateful for things they said “no” to that provided the time for home to be a place rich with memories and food and experiences.
I find myself reflecting on this because someday, when I have kids, I want to be intentional about having the space and the time to be a family and form a home. Yet, even now, without children, I don’t want to rush around doing lots of things; rather, I want to just be at home and invite people into that space.
For now, I’m simply enjoying the time to rest at home, surrounded by several partially started books, a cup of tepid coffee, and a persistent furnace that keeps my home toasty so I can comfortably gaze at the swirling snowflakes with delight. It is the little things. And those little things help create the space for great and glorious things to unfold.