When I was little, I used to get really excited when it snowed. As soon as the flakes started falling, I would start gearing up to go sledding and build a snowman and just generally frolic in the winter wonderland that had previously been my backyard. Even more importantly, snow meant that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t have to go to school the next day. There are no snow days for grown-ups.

“Being grown-up isn’t half as fun as growing up.” — The Ataris

When I was little, I used to get really excited when it snowed. As soon as the flakes started falling, I would start gearing up to go sledding and build a snowman and just generally frolic in the winter wonderland that had previously been my backyard. Even more importantly, snow meant that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t have to go to school the next day.

Now, I anticipate winter weather with dread. At the first sign of precipitation, I begin to mentally prepare myself to brave the cold, scrape off my car, and face slippery roads and bad drivers.

There are no snow days for grown-ups. We have to go about our business no matter what Mother Nature throws at us.

When I was a kid, the idea of living in a climate without snow was appalling to me. Now, I would gladly move somewhere where winter doesn’t exist. Snow isn’t fun anymore; it’s just a hassle.

And snow isn’t the only thing that loses its magic as we grow older.

When I was young, I didn’t question Santa’s ability to deliver presents all around the world in a single night — the important thing was that he delivered presents to me. As I grew up, however, I started to notice a lot of holes in the theory that an obese man and a bunch of reindeer could move quickly enough to stop at millions and millions of homes in a matter of hours.

Grown-up disappointment doesn’t end with the Christmas season. In fact, it’s probably more acute during the warmer months.

For kids, summer is an endless paradise of no school and no worries. For adults, summer is just a time when it’s really hot outside and we still have to go to work.

Growing up really is no fun, so I’ve tried not to grow up too much.

I still watch “SpongeBob SquarePants” and laugh. I still think dinosaurs are totally awesome. I still eat peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwiches for lunch on a regular basis.

And over the weekend, I participated in some activities generally geared toward the younger set — seeing Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and visiting Folepi’s Winter Wonderland in East Peoria — and I had great time.

The movie made me laugh, made me cry and kept me entertained. Most importantly, the lovely hand-drawn animation reminded me of the Disney movies that I grew up with. Computer animation is great, but there’s something special about a good old-fashioned cartoon.

The first part of my visit to Winter Wonderland was less than delightful: We waited in line for an hour and a half, and I was terrified that my car was going to roll into the car behind us during our slow ascent up the hill.

Once we reached the displays, however, all of that was forgotten. For a little while, I dismissed all of my adult concerns and simply enjoyed the lights — and I felt the pure, unencumbered happiness that we usually lose as we get older.

I’m mature when it counts, but I still know how to get in touch with my inner child, and I hope that I never lose that ability. If I didn’t act like a kid every once and awhile, life would be pretty bleak and boring.

But I will never again get excited about snow.

Pekin Daily Times city editor Amanda Jacobs can be reached at (309) 346-1111 ext. 663 or ajacobs@pekintimes.com.