I am a tired, frustrated, middle-aged woman.
Sundays used to be so leisurely. I would rise before my family members, usually around 7:00 or 7:30, and then waltz through the house patting the heads of canines and felines. After brewing a pot of Starbucks coffee, I’d step outside into the cool morning air to hunt for the newspaper, usually resting beside a car tire. Once inside, I’d pour a steaming cup of java, flip on the Food Network, and blissfully — peacefully — take in lasagna recipes with a side order of Life and Style.
Then school started, and all hell broke loose.
Today’s Sunday morning consists of the same early rise, because I have to beat the after-church group to Kroger. I don’t mean to offend anyone, because we used to be the after-church group. That was during a time in our lives when we could physically get to the sanctuary. But now, Sunday mornings are spent writing to file stories for Monday morning, homework and test prep, and more laundry than George Jefferson could manage. Somewhere in the day, we might catch fifteen minutes of a football game while standing up scarfing down a cold sandwich from the deli.
But what’s our problem? Time management…or life in general?
What baffles us is that Mike works and I work, and our kids go to school. That’s it. We aren’t involved in any extra-curricular activities or sports, and we aren’t members of any club or organization. So why can’t we enjoy the day to rest as required by biblical law and a few health professionals?
I wish I knew.
Saturdays seem to belong to everyone else. Birthday parties, baby showers, company picnics…you plan it, we’ll be there. The day is also held hostage by our house in that we’re usually wandering around some type of home improvement store to repair, replace, rebuild, or return something. If Lowe’s had a bar, my husband would be the Southridge drunk.
And then it starts all over again on Monday. Get up, get ready for school and for work, make breakfast and choke it down, deliver children to school, deliver ourselves to work, do those jobs, inhale lunch, return home in time to let dogs out to bark, pile back in the car to retrieve children from school, dish out snacks and drinks, tackle homework and projects, manage paperwork sent home in folders and envelopes, sort through mail, start dinner, eat dinner, clean up dinner, announce the time for showers, pull out yesterday’s last load of laundry, dry children’s hair before bed, listen to children read books, listen to husband rehash his day, prepare the next day’s lesson plan for classes of my own, kiss children goodnight, kiss canines and felines and other critters goodnight, kiss husband goodnight, and lie awake all night.
Friends and other experts tell me that I should learn how to delegate! Farm it out! Hire help! Send the clothes to the dry cleaner (do you know what that costs?!) Shop for groceries once a week (but I still have to fix those meals!). Pay some company to take care of the yard (I’d have to be home to cage the dogs!). Bring in a housekeeping crew (I’d have to clean the house beforehand to avoid shame and embarrassment!).
Perhaps I’m stubborn. Do-it-yourself (the hard way).
If this is the case, then when do we rest? In the summer. It’s the only time we have as a family, even with Mike working, that we can make the most of our evenings and weekends. We arranged our lives to have a traditional summer with our children, for a multitude of reasons and motivations, wants and needs. But I’ll save the Kanawha County school calendar for another fit of rage and blistering blog post.
The point to this rambling essay is to acknowledge that there is no day of rest anymore. I don’t know that anyone gets one. I also can’t figure out why a family that has no outside obligations can’t get the week accomplished in five or six days. Perhaps it’s the late summer/early fall weather than makes us feel like we have to build fences, cut the grass, clean out the garage, pull leaves out of gutters, and identify the unblemished few for a Biology project. Perhaps ’tis the season to be busy. Perhaps this is the reason I’m starting to fall more in love with winter, when all we can do is sit and stay warm.
I have a stack of beautiful books towering as high as the lamp on my nightside table. I want to jump into them like those piles of leaves that will soon need to be raked and bagged, or blown over the hill. But by 9:30 p.m., I struggle to fit in a rerun of New Girl. On some nights, not even Nick Miller’s rugged handsomeness can keep me awake (sorry to you, too, Mike the Spouse). And as sure as the night is dark, I’ll startle myself out of that deep sleep somewhere around midnight to begin processing the next “day” and all it expects and demands of me.
Life feels like it’s on a deadline (no pun intended). Just last week, I started Christmas shopping. You will find me nowhere near a Black Friday sale after the behemouth meal I cook for Thanksgiving (IF MY KITCHEN IS FINISHED BY THEN), so I browse the stores now to avoid the mob scene later. Christmas. Didn’t I just put that stupid tree back in the box? Ornaments and lights still hanging from each plastic pine branch?
Before you know it, we’ll be changing the clocks again to give us more “nightlife”. That’s one more hour I’ll have to worry, to write, to cook, to shop, to proofread, to fold, to iron, to complain. This year, the time change will occur on Sunday, November 3rd. Since it’s also a day of worship, I pray I’ll have the good sense to fall back…in bed…and rest.