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Chatterbox: A snow day any day


Mood is a wonderful or terrible thing, depending on where the accent falls.

We all have moods, even though the joke is that, usually, it’s the women swinging wildly back and forth between joy and panic. It’s okay, it’s just a joke. Still, the impetus is real and it’s real for everyone. Of course, with the guys, there’s usually a team sport involved.

Three weeks ago, we talked about high school and learning about ourselves and what the right thing is for us. High school is also a place where nearly everyone is dealing, not only with these personal discoveries, but how to improve, ramp up, or tone down these specifics.

As adults, it gets better, but slowly; we never stop learning and changing. Most of us are still just trying to do our best and be the best we can be without losing any ground or our grounding, losing our self or our sanity.

When I was younger and running all over the map trying to handle a houseful of kids who each had activities and obligations but not driving licenses, like many exhausted parents I prayed for snow days. Who doesn’t appreciate that one day when everything comes to a halt – commuter buses, city traffic, school, alternate side of the street parking, and errands? Few busy adults relate to cabin fever. We wish we could experience it. Even for many who have reached retirement age, being home with nothing to do sounds dreamy.

On March 15, 2012, Chatterbox talked about the “Dilemma of the Granny Nanny,” women who, having already raised their own children, become the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. Whether due to their grown children’s career goals, single parenting or because of the dual income household which, for many millennials, sadly, is not optional today, grandparents may find they are busier than ever. They’re happy to do it, of course … loving the grandchildren, of course, but it can get exhausting.

On May 18, 2006, we talked about grandparenting across the miles and how the new geography of families on the move affects the relationships older people have with their adult children and distant grandchildren. That distance may mean we’re not as busy daily, but it also means we miss the closeness of them. Then, visiting becomes rare, and an extended and complicated process that leaves us all spinning. A walk to grandma’s house is becoming something only for Little Red Riding Hood. Today, though, even she might have to pack a suitcase as well as a basket, and hop a jet.

It’s great that we are all living a more active life, of course, but I know I can’t be the only one who chuckles when I see commercials featuring retired people out bike riding and hiking under the trees. Remember those lemonade commercials with the people rocking on the front porch and listening to the breeze blow? Yeah … where is that? I told my husband decades ago that we’d probably never need those rockers. For better or worse, we don’t, and we’re not alone.

Still, it’ll probably be even harder for the next generation, they who are young parents today. Watching which way the nation is going, we can only assume that our young adult community of today will, unfortunately, not be likely to ever know actual retirement of any ilk, or the comfort rendered from a decent nest egg. Even as many older Americans today work just to pay for their medications, the millennials will probably have to work until they are longer in the tooth than that (gosh, I hope I’m wrong).

This past Monday was Memorial Day. When I was a kid, there were no driving destinations because of the holiday. More of us, then, honored the formality of the day with local parades and ceremonies, spending the balance of the day with family, usually in the area. Not so for many of us this past weekend; the traffic reports will bear out the truth.

It’s no illusion that most Americans have much more of everything to squeeze into each day, every day, and that it seems more complicated than ever, for everyone. Sure, any of us who can, is fortunate to live a life well-shared and it’s a blessing to be able to show up for our life and it’s a privilege to grow old. It’s what life’s all about. Sometimes, though, it just leaves us – maybe more often than ever before – hoping for a snow day, even in June.