On Monday we "celebrated" Columbus Day, which meant no school for the kids. Yes, additional hours at home led to a significant number of sibling arguments, and our evening was no less chaotic than usual, but the absence of two drop-offs and two pick-ups made me feel as though I had all the time in the world. The kids and I enjoyed a leisurely brunch together, and while they watched an afternoon movie and then played outside in the backyard, I finished the laundry, wrote a blog post, and filed months of accumulated paperwork. And after Will's karate lesson and Hallie's gymnastics class, we all sat down to dinner together.
This is what Hallie looked like after playing outside.
That's chalk. It was surprisingly difficult to remove.
Due to poor weather and field conditions, the youth baseball league cancelled Will's only scheduled baseball game, and because his instructors had traveled to the National Tae-Kwon-Do Tournament, Will only had one karate lesson. As much as I love watching Will play baseball and practice karate, the unexpected free evenings at home felt like Christmas presents.
Will still managed to fit in a little pitching practice.
The temperatures finally dipped into the 50s/60s at night and the 70s during the day, and this small yet significant change, along with the splendidly refreshing rain showers that passed through our area, dramatically improved my mood. (I've often wondered if there exists a condition equal but opposite to Seasonal Affective Disorder. If it does, I suffer from it.) I love feeling a chill when I walk out the door in the morning, and even more than that, I love not arriving home after picking Will up from school drenched in sweat.
With sweaty palms and a shaky "voice" (over text - I couldn't bring myself to have the conversation in person), I told a friend "no" when she asked me to volunteer for an activity I didn't feel comfortable doing. In the moment I felt terribly guilty about turning her down, but afterwards I felt empowered. And I'm pretty sure this friend doesn't hate me because I chose to, just this once, protect my time.
I felt so relaxed thanks to the day off, the bonus free time, the change in the weather, and my new-found assertiveness that the "extras" on the calendar for the week - Will's parent/teacher conference, Will's seven-year-old doctor's appointment, a weeknight birthday party, baking for the elementary school's teacher appreciation luncheon, volunteering at the elementary school book fair, and preparing for weekend company - didn't phase me.
And this comment, left by a friend of mine on my Facebook page, boosted my spirits even more:
Thanks so much for sharing. I was actually thinking about this earlier today... What I've learned about being a SAHM is that some people will expect you to volunteer for everything. Some will probably even try to make you feel bad for "not working." But just as you mentioned, there is a reason you work part time instead of full time; it's the same reason I'm a SAHM. Our husbands work ridiculous hours! But if we say yes to every single thing that comes down the line, we will be spread too thin, and suddenly we won't have anything to give to the people who need us most, our families and friends. Picking and choosing isn't selfish, but rather it allows us to give more to the projects to which we've said yes, and it allows us to have enough left to be successful in our main jobs - holding together a family, a marriage, caring for a home, rearing our children, and making sure that we're actually caring for ourselves.
I was flying high when my in-laws arrived on Friday for a weekend visit. I adore my in-laws (and I'm not just saying that because they read the blog), and I cherish the time the four of us spend with them. Just like my parents, they make a tremendous effort to stay in touch with - both virtually and in-person - our kids, and I love that Will and Hallie really know their grandparents, even though both sets live so far away.
Friday night reading with Grandpa.
So much good. So much peace. So much different than the week before.
The problem with all this "good" is that it makes me think I should be able to add back in all that was missing this past week - a fifth day of school, two baseball games, a second karate lesson, extra volunteer responsibilities, and two additional posts here on Chasing Roots - and stay sane. But if I'm being honest with myself, I know that isn't possible.
So for the time being, I think I'll stay right where I find myself today. Busy, but not swamped. Involved, but not monopolized. Committed, but not overwhelmed. Good. Peaceful. Happy. I wish you the same as you take on your week.