Wednesday, July 11, 2012
No more pencils, no more books and all that kind of thing. If you're a kid it means not having to get up early and complete the daily slog of breakfast, school, homework, dinner, bedtime.
If you're an adult, summer might signal the start of days where cubicles and offices are empty and the halls feel oddly vacant. Someone is always on vacation and if you're lucky, it's you.
For parents who stay at home the trend toward freedom is upside down. Instead of days of solitude followed by busy afternoons, we have days of busy followed by more busy. And most noticeably, unless we pay for the privilege, we are NEVER alone.
It's what I refer to as the summer transition period. If you're used to having six hours to set your own schedule, it comes as a rude awakening to realize people would like you to stop what you're doing and make lunch (the nerve), play a game, drive them somewhere, make brownies, go on a bike ride, pick them up from somewhere, explain the theory of relativity. The list could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.
Then, every summer, there comes that moment when the kids go stay with their grandparents and I go from one extreme to the other. Suddenly, every single minute of the day belong to me.
I wake up and no one needs me to make breakfast. There's no need to squeeze blogging time into those minutes between swim team practices.
My day is my own, completely. And my decisions are based solely on my preference.
I can sleep in and skip lunch without worrying about not setting a healthy eating example. I can hide out in coffee shops and write to my heart's content without ever giving a thought to the time of day. It's life untimed and at my own pace.
I've been trying to remember if I appreciated the freedom of doing exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, when I had it on a regular basis.
I'm pretty sure I didn't.
It would have been akin to asking me, right now, if I appreciate having fresh water to drink. I do, but not in the way someone would who hasn't had it in ten years.
Of course, by the time the kids return on Sunday their pristine bedrooms and the quiet house will have begun to make me sad. I'll long for the chatter, the demands, the laughter and the mess.
But right now, I'm enjoying my morning cup of coffee at noon and it's entirely possible I'll get so wrapped up in writing my newest book that hours will slip away, unheeded, because for the next few days I'm living life off the clock.