I cannot remember the last time we truly took a holiday weekend, or, rather, that I took a holiday. There is something seemingly appropriate about a mom taking Labor Day as an excuse to kick back.
Truthfully, it started Friday when my daughter and I played our pajama day card. The fact that I’m reading the Twilight series might have something to do with that, too (future post to comment on that one). I was supposed to have a meeting with my spiritual director, but a change of plans led to a cancellation. During our brief phone conversation, I mentioned my p.j. day with novel in tow, and she said it sounded like I was pretty well-balanced. Would I be her spiritual director? she asked me. That resulted in a good laugh, but I was glad she approved of my unkemptness. I did manage to get dressed, pick up kids from school, and make it that night to a delightful cookout at my cousin’s house with her family. My day felt rich and full.
Saturday we slept in. Then I went out and purchased a bike trailer. I haven’t truly ridden my bike, even a bike, in almost eleven years (the age of my eldest daughter), if not longer. But I felt a sense of determination. This is something I was going to do, not only for myself but for the family as well. Home from that, I left with my girls to meet a friend and her daughter to go on a bike ride along the trails in our city. I hadn’t been on them before, even to walk, and I loved it — sore derriere aside. I don’t know how many miles it was, but it was beautiful outside, overcast, the rain holding off for the late evening/early morning hours. I truly felt the beginner’s mind on our trip, being very much in the moment. You never forget how to ride a bike, but I got reacquainted with my gears. I went on faith that the girls were okay behind me in the trailer. At one point, they were sprayed with mud slung from my tire; a little while later they were almost asleep. We got back an hour late, but we came home to a clean house, thanks to my dearest, and immediately submerged ourselves into a small dinner party. The yummy dessert wine that concluded our feast was a testament to sweet enjoyment all around (I hope!). I slept so well.
As if that weren’t enough to wrap up a most lovely weekend, we topped even that.
After church Sunday morning, we came home and prepared for another day outdoors. We planned on rock climbing, but why not take the canoe on her maiden voyage (for our family, anyway). My husband and I realized we can load the canoe on the van by ourselves (and get it off). We also discovered what fun it is, even just on a lake, taking turns with the children. But most fun for me was the time I got to take by myself. Not only am I reading Twilight, but I am also premenstrual; truthfully, I could have been a recluse all weekend and have been just as content, though not nearly so healthy. My dear girlfriends suggested I take my book out on the canoe and read in peace, not worrying about the children. I wasn’t climbing anyway due, I supposed, to PMS lack of energy. I took the canoe out.
“Where are you going, Mom?!” my 5-year-old shouted after me from the bank.
“I’m running away!” I shouted back with a laugh. “Be back soon!”
I thought the “lake” seemed small, but it was enough to float in nicely in the late afternoon sun, reading a few more chapters. The loudness of our children beckoned me back, their voices along with others along the wooded trail, reminding me of my responsibilities. Come to find out, the lake is bigger; I just didn’t go around the bend. There’s always next time.
Back home, we enjoyed yet another dinner together with our friends, finishing off the leftover soup, replenishing the sides. Sleep found us quickly.
Labor Day, I did actually make myself do some work on the house that was showing signs of neglect, even after having been clean on Saturday. Sunday night I even dreamed of mounds of laundry that were just a little to close to the real thing. By the end of the day, the house looked and felt better, and I could settle in to read some more with good conscience.
The weather was beautiful all weekend, especially with the evening storms. I appreciated feeling the muscles in my body. I appreciated the rests I took. I enjoyed the time spent away in books.
Mostly, though, I am grateful for the awareness, the time, the being, the relationships nurtured. We should spend more weekends like this with even more of our family and friends. Many thanks to all.