Late last month, when we were projected to get up to 3 inches of snow and much of the country was under a record-breaking cold spell, we were ready.
We braved the grocery store crowds for milk and bread, snacks for the kids, even got ingredients for red-hot cider - a snow day tradition when I was growing up. We made sure the kids’ coats were clean and ready, that we had waterproof boots on hand. The plastic sleds, which I bought last year, were still stored up in the attic rafters. I’d take them down when it came time, I thought. Better not jinx the snow too much.
School and work were canceled, and the governor called a pre-emptive state of emergency the day before the big snow was expected.
That night, we sent the kids to bed early. The excitement was palpable. It was like Santa was coming, only Santa is slightly more reliable than snow in Alabama.
At midnight, my 3-year-old stumbled down the hall while I was getting ready for bed.
“Is it snow yet?” she asked while rubbing her eyes, squinting against the light from the hall.
“No, not yet,” I told her. “You have to go to sleep.”
When my daughter woke again around 4 a.m. - she still doesn’t sleep through the night regularly - I stumbled down the hall, got her a sippy cup of water and looked outside. I couldn’t see much, but I could hear the sleet coming down in the dark.
“Is there snow now?” my pre-schooler asked sleepily while she burrowed herself under the covers in her bed.
“No, but probably soon,” I told her, before I shuffled back down the hallway to bed, my eyes half open.
When the sun rose the next morning, our daughter pranced into our room around 6:30 a.m. decked out in her Princess Elsa (the snow queen from “Frozen”) costume and a plastic crown that sat lop-sided on top of her bed head.
“I’m ready for the snow!” she declared.
My husband sat up and peaked through the blinds of a window nearby.
“Um, there’s no snow,” he said.
“NO SNOW?!?” our daughter shouted, clomping over to the window in her glittery dress-up heels to see for herself before she threw herself over the bed in a grand gesture. “But (teacher) said if I go to bed, there’d be snow!” she wailed.
Our older two kids woke in the commotion.
“It hasn’t snowed yet,” our 7-year-old son told his 9-year-old sister.
“Then it’s not going to,” she replied, with a shrug of her shoulders, as they went off in search of their iPads.
My dad called a few hours later from California, asking if we were enjoying the snow. “It’s a no-snow snow day, Dad,” I told him.
“Well, it is Alabama,” he answered back.
Nearly three weeks later, there’s still no snow. The daffodils are in bloom and the knockout roses in my front flowerbed are starting to add dots of hot pink to their otherwise drab branches.
“It’s almost spring,” I told my 3-year-old last week as she haphazardly plucked the daffodil stems. It was almost 70 degrees out and had been up to 80 degrees the week before.
“But I want the snow,” she replied.
I do too, I thought. If anything is certain, it’s that the weather is uncertain in Alabama. We aren’t giving up on the snow - not just yet.
But we aren’t counting on it, either.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.