When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I fall firmly in the “love ’em” camp.

I sit down every January with my notebooks and calendars to try to work out what would make my life better, happier, simpler in the year to come. Some things work: I’ve become more organized. I’m late far less often. My closet adheres firmly to the “one in, one out” rule.

Others fall into the category of ever-moving goal posts. Last year, in this space, I resolved to “enjoy it”: No more multitasking work and family. I resolve to actually do what I’m doing, whenever possible. I resolve not to read the work email at 5 p.m. that infects the dinner I’m cooking with all the stress of my inability to deal with it until after bedtime. I resolve not to spend two hours with my head half in my laptop and half in a game of “Settlers of Catan” when an hour of work and an hour of play would be both more pleasant, and more productive.

That doesn’t mean you won’t still see me emailing from a hockey game. The ability to remain engaged with work while making family activities happen is what often makes all of our balancing acts possible. But if separating the two would be better, then separate I will.

Did I separate? I’d say I improved. For those of us who work from home all or some of the time, any day when children are in the house is going to pose a challenge, but I’ve made far more of an effort on those days to set aside a smaller amount of really dedicated, head-down work time and then to put it all aside when the time comes.

My kids, who made me swear “not to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas vacation,” might not see the improvement that I do – but then, if I’m not standing in the kitchen making sandwiches 24-7, they trail about the house complaining of terrible neglect, so I’m going to take that with a grain of salt. I enjoyed more. I felt less pulled in all different directions. I’ll take it.


For 2014, my resolution is in some sense more of the same. A few days ago, a Facebook friend shared a conversation she’d had with one of her children, in which she asked for “the best moment of 2013.” Her child, at a moment that rather distinctly didn’t stand out in any particular way, enthusiastically declared “this one!”

That’s my resolution – that this moment, and the next, and the one after that, will be “the best.” Of course, I know there will be terrible moments in this year. But that “this one!” attitude is exactly the one I long to cultivate in myself. When bad things do happen, isn’t it always the ordinary moments we miss?

I don’t want to make others want to slap me silly by wandering around sounding like Emily in “Our Town.” (“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it … every, every minute?” “Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”)

I just want to take my happiness where I can get it this year. Because this moment – right here, with my laptop and the snow dumping down outside and children’s voices from upstairs and the construction noise outside and the knowledge that I parked my car a quarter mile away and eventually I’m going to have to go get it – yep, this moment’s the best.

I’ve got my usual resolutions and plans for grandly organized rooms and new blog features (about which more next week) and whatnot, but “this one!” is the resolution I know I’ll find myself coming back to.

HERE IN THE NORTHEAST, it is snowing – snowing, snowing and snowing some more. And it is cold‚ with highs for me (in New Hampshire) tomorrow in the single digits looking downright warm compared to even lower temperatures farther north. School was already canceled today.


So why not cancel school tomorrow already? Why wait to call me at 5:45 in the morning (again)?

My friend Naomi Shulman disagrees. “Here’s what I don’t understand,” she posted on her Facebook page. “Why call two days at once? What if the forecast changes? Wouldn’t it make more sense to call Friday on … Friday?”

Oh, sure, if you want to be wholly practical, the weather could certainly change in the next 15 hours. Forecasters have been wrong before. And if I’m honest, there have been nights when school was prophylactically canceled, leaving me pulling my hair out the next day when faced with a light dusting of snow and children jonesing to go places while I’m facing a lost day’s work. I am not always in favor of the early cancellation.

Canceling school unnecessarily puts families in a bind. On the other hand, more notice means more ability to plan for additional babysitting or day care or to split a day with a friend (since most jobs are very rarely “snowed out”).

I know that, as David Narkewicz, the mayor of Northampton, Mass., where my friend lives, wrote on her Facebook page: “Winter storm closures are primarily about the school district’s ability to safely transport children to/from school.… This storm is predicted to disrupt the next three commuting periods, hence the decision to err on the side of caution in an already vacation-shortened week and give families plenty of advance notice.”

It’s not about the holiday or the teachers’ plans or the heating bills or even how far into summer break a school year may extend if there are too many cancellations, and it’s not about whether we parents in our SUVs can get out of our driveways, either. It’s all about the buses and the roads.

At this point, though, I think I would take a little extra warning over the chance that by tomorrow the roads will be cleared and the buses ready to roll.

Contact KJ Dell-Antonia at:

[email protected]

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