Thank You, Polar Vortex: What a week of being snowed in is doing for my teenagers

January 31, 2019   –   4 Degrees Fahrenheit   –   Consecutive Snow Days: 5 and counting

Thank you, Polar Vortex for giving my teens this past week to:

  1. Sleep in and de-stress. Teens are running on high-stress hormones and inadequate sleep; mine are no exception. Having this “7 day weekend” allowing them to sleep until their bodies are fully rested, has been rejuvenating for them. No rushing out the door in the dark, cold morning; no “time for bed” reminders at 11 pm. Having this last week to lay around and truly relax is what their bodies and their minds needed. As D1 shared this morning:

    “I feel like I’ve done nothing productive this week. I’m so happy!”

  2. Explore old and new interests. The craft supplies that got shoved in the closet have resurfaced, new videography skills are being acquired, new authors are being introduced, classic TV shows are becoming beloved. These things only happened because of this forced time out.
  3. Unplug. Sure, they’ve been on their devices a lot. I mean A LOT. But they’re also getting bored with them and actually opting for low and no-tech options—at their own discretion!  Sudoko puzzles, gin rummy, and markers and drawing pads are the new obsession. 20190131_124142
  4. Practice self love. When you’re trapped in a Polar Vortex, gone is the pressure of assembling just the right outfit, getting the hair perfect, etc. This week has been about sweat pants, messy buns, fuzzy slippers, and bad breath. It’s been about home spas with mani-pedis and facials–teenage girls in their purest form.
  5. Grow gratitude. When they hear talk of warming shelters, they grow gratitude for our simple home with its working furnace. When they see our pantry shelves and fridge start to empty 20190131_123833out, and the roads are too treacherous to even think about a trip to the grocery store, the complaints of “There’s nothing to eat” are silenced and they express thankfulness for our family meals–which we are able to eat together because everyone’s schedule has cleared completely up. When assignments show up on their Google Classroom, tasks they need to work out for themselves, they learn appreciation for their time in the classroom and the teachers who explain things like how to “draw structural long and short hand formulas” in chemistry.
  6. See themselves in community. Adolescence can be painfully isolating. But when my teens see themselves facing the same challenges as their neighbors and the rest of their state, they feel less alone. The Polar Vortex isn’t just affecting us, it’s affecting everyone.  And when the emergency text chimes on all our phones at 10:30 pm with the power company asking everyone, EVERYONE, to lower their thermostats to 65 or lower for the next two days, our teens eagerly comply, without complaint or even comment.
  7. Build memories. This is the coldest weather their generation has ever felt; possibly mine as well. This week, and hopefully the lessons learned, will be etched in my teenagers’ minds for the rest of their lives. May they be lessons that are life-changing. 20190119_132043