I awoke at 4:45am to my alarm and the sound of rain lashing against the windows. The kids’ school was on a 2-hour delay due to heavy rain and potential flooding, but our daughter’s swim practice was still on for 5:30.
The last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed to drive in the dark in pouring rain at 5 o’clock in the morning. What I really wanted to do was lay in bed and listen to the rain. I saw a flash of lightning then heard a rumble of thunder as I padded down the hall to the kitchen. Yes, snuggling under the down comforter in our dark room, warm and dry, with the sounds of rain slamming against the window and thunder rumbling, that’s where I wanted to be.
Today is my flex day. I’m working Sunday, so my weekend this week is today and tomorrow. All week, I’ve been looking forward to today. I love flex days. I have the house to myself, it’s quiet, I can read and write and think and be quiet and enjoy quiet. On flex days there are no interruptions, and nobody else’s dishes or crumbs, and nobody needs anything from me, and it’s quiet.
When the announcement of the two hour delay came, I knew the morning wouldn’t be quite as serene as I’d anticipated. I’d be bringing the swim carpool home, and they’d be all caffeinated and hyper from swim practice and the fact that it’s Friday. Then they’d just get on the bus with our daughter. My peaceful day would be delayed by a couple hours, and that would be fine.
But when I woke to the slashing rain, I thought, please no. Please don’t let school be cancelled for the whole day.
At 7:00 am, as I packed up my stuff at the aquatic center, my notebook and my thermos after waiting in the stands for practice to end, my phone buzzed with a text from the schools. All Montgomery County schools are closed on Friday, February 7. Damn!
The girls piled into the car after changing, wet-haired and sweatpant-clad, and I drove them to Starbucks, as I do every Friday after swimming and before school. Only this day I also brought them home with me. They’re in our daughter’s room, right this very minute, talking and laughing and decidedly not being silent.
Instead of just me, alone, one person padding around quietly with the cats, holding a steaming coffee mug while I stand at the window and stare out, there are five of us in the house. Our son is still sleeping. The girls are in our daughter’s room with the door closed, but I know they’re there. I can hear them.
I’m playing classical music to try to create the peace I was anticipating this day. Now that the rain has turned to swirling snow, and the wind is howling over the chimney, and I’ve accepted that the day is going to be a little different than I had planned, it’s kind of working. I’ve got my slippers and my coffee, and a cat just jumped on my lap. When the girls laugh, I can’t help but smile. Laughter is a wonderful thing to have in a house. Right now, they are talking quietly, and Beethoven is playing quietly, and Mrs Tubbles is purring quietly on my arms as I try to type. I think this flex day will turn out pretty okay.