Saturday, August 6, 2011

A day off...

Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in reverie.  ~Henry David Thoreau

When my children were younger, it often felt as if we were on a merry-go-round that was spinning much too quickly. Our days were spent rushing from one place to another. We hurried to get out the door to school, to pick up, then to soccer, to ballet, to hockey practice. We might have had Cub Scout meetings in the evening. We would be up until midnight creating a diorama for a 2nd grade project on dinosaurs while helping to make flashcards to memorize multiplication tables. Even vacations seemed to be too busy, as we hurried to visit one group in the family in one part of the country, while already planning the next trip. It became a stressful, messy blur of movement.

Every now and then, I'd declare a family holiday. No one would go to school, go to sports, we'd blow off Sunday School one weekend and we'd simply let the laundry go undone. I'd throw a blanket down in the yard, or in poor weather, in the family room. We'd watch Monty Python and make traditional English "set tea". We'd play endless games of Mother May I or "Guess Who?". We'd make forts using couch cushions and sheets. We'd make pizza for breakfast or pancakes for dinner. We would let the phone go unanswered. We'd leave the mail in the box. We'd read. We'd read. We'd read. The kids and I read all of the Narnia Chronicles in just such days. 

Obviously, we couldn't do this all of the time. We had responsibilities. We had work and lessons and life. It was all just outside our home. But, for a day here and there, we stepped outside the realm of 'have to' and into 'want to'. These were blissful, magical, dreamy lazy days. I wish we'd had more of them. Time does march on, of course. Kids grow up. It's much harder to miss AP Biology than it is to blow off one day of long division. The world becomes more stressful with every passing year. 

With the unbelievable dread of the news today, I find myself thinking of those days off wistfully. The horrible helicopter crash in Afghanistan broke my heart. The economic crisis makes me terrified of our own financial well being. My health being precarious only makes my fears more personal. I wish I could take a step back from all of it. I want to turn off the phone. I would like the television to either break, or to only broadcast shows that are lighthearted. I want to throw off bill paying, house cleaning, yard work, personal commitments and everything that causes me concern. I want to lie in the hammock and re-read children's books that are full of fancy and imagination.

I want a grown up day off.  Too often when my husband and I have extra time, we need to squeeze the most of it. While Jeff is mowing the lawn or sealing the driveway, I'm getting caught up with vacuuming, dusting and organizing. I wish I could wriggle my nose, like Samantha from "Bewitched", and all of those chores would be completed. More than that, I'd like to curl up and watch "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jeannie" and even "Gilligan's Island" and remember being 10 and having a day off from school.

I think we all deserve it. I believe most of us work far too hard every day not to have a true day off...with an interrupted block of time to do absolutely nothing. Or to do something absolutely silly. Try it. Ignore the news. Ignore the phone. Ignore the calendar. And just be. 

Just don't forget to laugh.

1 comment:

sbl said...

THAT is a wonderful column and expressed what we're all feeling, dear Ellen. Not sure you remember what I used to call our "lazy days"
when you and I would turn off the world and just have fun. One day we watched George Bernard Shaw's play
Pygmalion', and followed that up with its current version, "My Fair Lady".. It may have influenced you...I wonder. LOVE YOU and am so PROUD of you.xxxxMOM