Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Allowed

When I was a child, my family spent a couple of years in snowy Syracuse, New York. Syracuse is the kind of town that has snow on the ground, constantly, from November to March, and that's in a really warm year. My father had to get up every morning and shovel the driveway so he could get the car out of the garage and drive to work. Everyone wore snow boots to get to school, which was never closed due to inclement weather. You'd hear mothers calling out as kids left the house: "Do you have your lunch money? Instrument? Shoes?"

We lived across the street from a family with five children. Compared to us, their house was chaos. Toys were everywhere. Rules were loosely applied and even more loosely followed. The two youngest children, when confronted with the idea that they shouldn't be opening a Diet Coke/digging crayon into the carpet/playing with matches would invariably answer, "I'm allowed!" and continue with whatever mayhem they were causing.

My mother, a native North Carolinian who knew her time in wintry upstate New York was short, never came to understand this lack of discipline. We quickly moved from New York to Georgia, which failed to produce more than a collective five inches of snow the entire time we were there. After Syracuse, we didn't really experience real snow.

Until this weekend. Previous Maryland blizzards be damned - this weekend we got thirty two inches of snow. That is nearly three feet. We've been stuck inside with the kids. Suddenly, I understand that Syracuse mother completely. Prior to this winter, I had rules. Now, I'd like to officially announce that I am changing my stance on television, sugar, juice, pacifiers, cookies, shoes, socks, bathing and noise. While I still draw the line at matches, I am going to give some serious reconsideration to Diet Coke. Caffeine free, of course. In a straw sippy.

Who said crayons on walls were a bad idea? Isn't that what paint is for (should I ever actually see a Home Depot again, that is)?

Hey, don't you go judging me. Times are desperate. I'm allowed.

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