You see, we had a snowstorm here yesterday.
"What's the big deal?" You ask, "you live in Canada!" And while that is true, I more specifically live in the GTA where large amounts of snow all at one time are not the norm. We get a couple of cm at a time - not 25+ cm in one day. And while for a large part of Canada that is no big deal (I think my cousins on the east coast are getting something like 50 cm today) for us, in the GTA, it is a big deal.
So yesterday the snow fell. Lots of it. I got up nice and early to watch the news to see if maybe, just maybe school would be cancelled. No such luck - but the buses were cancelled which meant most kids wouldn't be at school anyway.
So being the good Canadian I am, I soldiered on and drove the 30+ km to work in the crappy snow.
I knew there wouldn't be a lot of kids at school because the buses were not running. And since it was Friday a lot of people just took the day off. But some people didn't. Some people have to go to work, no matter the weather (present company included).
But here's the thing. Of the 5 kids in my class who came to school - every single one of them had parents at home. Not at work or at school. At home with younger siblings or in their pj's or doing who knows what.
Back in the day when I was working in daycare my opinion that stay at home parents should not have their children in full time daycare was not always popular. Part time daycare or nursery school is great - kids need socialization away from parents - but full day, every day - I've always had a problem with that if Mom or Dad is home all day.
This is another instance in which my opinion might be wildly unpopular.
I have to wonder why those 5 kids were at school? Did their parents think we'd be learning anything? And even if we were - did they think that missing one day of school in Kindergarten was going to set up their entire educational career for failure?? I can't really fathom why any parent would take their child out in that weather if they didn't have to!
Now before I get a bunch of angry comments about how some parents have no choice but to work and therefore their kids have to go to school or daycare even on a craptastic day like that - I know - I get it. I had to go to work. If I were a single parent or if Sean had to have had to work too or my mom was not living here or Emily wasn't old enough to take care of Connor and Mary then they too would have had to go to school yesterday.
But they didn't have to. So I didn't send them. Because their staying home for one day wasn't going to destroy them academically. Because then maybe there wouldn't have been any students in their class and their teachers could go home safely to their families instead of being at work essentially babysitting my kids; because I can promise you no one taught yesterday.
What was so infuriating about yesterday was *most* of the children who were at school yesterday did not NEED to be there. So why did their parents send them? Who was gaining?
The parents - that's who. They were "getting rid of " their child for a few hours. Forget about the teachers who had to travel to and from school to be with those kids (who watched movies all day) who had to drive in that weather - who risked their lives to sit with your kids for 6 hours so that you could watch All My Children because you didn't want to keep them home.
If we lived somewhere else in Canada where this type of weather was the norm it might be different but this was the worst storm we've had in 5 years. If you didn't HAVE to be out in it, why were you? Keep your kids home. Spend the day with them. Enjoy them. Take them sledding. Play a game with them. Have a pillow fight.
I came here today with the intention to post that rant and leave it at that but my thoughts on this were punctuated by a blogger friend's post that I read this morning. Her teenage son battled cancer at the same time as me. He won that fight last year but they've just discovered spots on his lungs.
I can't even begin to fathom what his mom is feeling right now but it makes me want to hug my kids tighter. It reaffirms my contention that nothing is more important than time spent with your kids - that playing hookie from school or work is okay and that we should all be embracing every single moment with our kids.
My prayers are with my friend and her family that they will find the strength and courage to fight on and win the battle again. It's a long and terrible road, one they know all too well.
Hug your kids, spend time with them. Make them a priority. Nothing
should be is more important than they are.