The Day Off: 6.18.14

I took today off.

It wasn’t easy since I’m a stay at home mom and I’m down the shore, alone with my 3 young children, but I did it.

I took today off.

Just. Like. That.

There was no babysitter, no massage, no mani-pedi, no pampering, and no quiet alone time, but I did it anyway.

I took today off.

Breakfast was not served today. It was eaten in front of the television and consisted of cold hard boiled eggs, made yesterday, along with the fruit I pre-cut and dry cereal. My oldest climbed the counter to retrieve the cereal, plates and bowls, peeled the eggs for herself and her siblings, and found the fruit in the fridge. The children cleared their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, not my hands. I made no effort to get up from the table or put the newspaper down.  They each consumed a full and healthy meal while I enjoyed every slow sip of my coffee.

I took breakfast off.

My 2 oldest to chose their outfits and dressed themselves. They prepared their own toothbrushes and brushed without constructive criticism. They worked together to make beds and get ready for the day. They argued without my intervention and they eventually figured it all out. The only assistance I offered was getting my youngest ready, doing hair, and applying sunscreen. There were shouts, demands, and a few tears, none of which emanated from me. They were less than perfect looking children and it was a less than a perfectly cleaned apartment. We still managed to leave for the playground at a reasonable hour.

I took the morning off.

I walked down the boardwalk while the kids rode their scooters and balance bike. I didn’t carry a single child, helmet, or mode of transportation. I didn’t shout, “Stay to the right!” “Hurry up!” “Come on!” or even a single child’s name.  The kids took turns taking the lead and we made it to the playground alive, despite giving my “momscles” and voice a rest. The view and the sunshine were glorious!

I took our walk off.

When we arrived at the playground, I found a nice shaded area and sat down. I didn’t push a swing. I didn’t play hide & seek. I didn’t run all over the vast area checking on children and searching for their whereabouts. I didn’t even take out my phone to snap a quick pic. There was only the happy sound of my children playing together, playing alone, imagining and pretending, and offering one another help and directions when needed. Despite my overt lack of participation, they had a great time.  It was music to my ears.

I took the playground off.

At lunch I had them make their own sandwiches and plates. Cream-cheese or peanut-butter isn’t so difficult to schmear on a bagel, apples and bananas can be eaten without my assistance, veggies were pre-cut yesterday, and hummus is great for dipping into.  I could not have cared less about double dipping.

I took lunch off.

I left the clean, unfolded laundry in a pile, dishes in the sink, and did not return a single email, text, or phone call.  I made them all nap because it was my day off and everyone should nap on their day off, so that’s what I did.

I took nap time off.

We headed out to the beach after waking. I carried the bag of towels and nothing else. They each toted their own shovel and bucket. I set up a chair near the ocean’s edge, plopped down, and watched them play. I did not jump waves or dig holes. I did not take them out to the “floaters” or assist them in body surfing or boogie boarding. I did not take a single picture or video. I just sat and watched as they jumped waves, chased seagulls, dug for tickle crabs, clams, and China. They laughed, splashed, and made their own memories with each other at a favorite family spot from my own childhood.

I took the beach off.

We had leftovers for dinner. The microwave did all of the work. Dinner was delicious…again.

I took dinner off.

I took today off to have some time both with and away from my kids. They are my work, my worry, my passion, my deep breaths, my inspiration, my exhaustion, and my world.

I took today off: without planning, without guilt, without worry, without absence, without a substitute, without judgement, and without my own critique.

I took today off, and it was fabulous!

Mother’s Log, January 2014: The Polar Vortex

 IMG_9876 Mother’s Log: snow date 247365-711

We received orders last night to keep the natives captive for yet another day, while my fearless co-captain remained with his away team for the foreseeable future.  To alleviate their disappointment, I invited the natives to share my quarters for just one night. The night was relatively peaceful but today began as the sun rose behind the cloud cover, much to early.

My initial course of action was to occupy the natives with creative indoor outlets and help them begin preparations for an upcoming holiday that they will celebrate once their education resumes.  Other time consuming ideas included games of my own childhood as well as artistic and sensory crafts.  I also had high expectations of allowing the natives to briefly experience the natural elements of the outdoors in this region, but as the storm continues, the snow drifts are now as tall as the shortest native in my care and I fear it would not be a pleasurable experience for anyone.

Their only source of outdoor protection, that I had dug out after the last storm passed, is slowly filling up. I also fear that the snow clearing vehicles this region deploys may cause the collapse of the fort, as I was not careful in reinforcing the structure.  I shall see about building a new one once this storm has calmed. Perhaps the natives will help, but after their last feeble attempt, I believe the responsibility and bulk of the work will again, fall to me.

I had planned on occupying the natives without the use of technology, a luxury they have grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, after only a short time of engaging activities, it was clear that refuge was needed and resistance was futile.IMG_9874

Fortunately, my co-captain and I have maintained our longstanding prime membership with the Amazon, a well known entity that fulfills many material “wishes” on this planet. The natives are now quietly enjoying another nostalgic form of entertainment from my childhood as if entranced: The Last Unicorn.  There is strong possibility that should our creative activities not resume as smoothly as I hope, I shall also search for The Never Ending Story, as this has become the theme of this winter and our stay here.

I look forward to the eventual return of my co-captain and taking the natives to another area of this region for a family celebration this weekend…

Supplemental Log: snow date 247365-711

I have successfully cleaned, folded and put away all native articles of clothing. It is a rare occurrence that I shall not dismiss without celebration.  Unfortunately, in our storm preparations, I did not obtain certain celebratory beverages that may or may not also help maintain calm in such conditions. I shall have to depend on what is in the reserves. I hope it is enough to power through…

Supplemental Log to the Supplemental Log: snow date 247365-711

The head of this region’s education sent confirmation to my co-captain that captivity shall continue through tomorrow. I have sent a secondary away team to investigate the planet’s “polar vortex” caused by the climate change it’s inhabitants have, unknowingly, until recently, helped to speed up.

During the later hours of daylight, I was able to take 2 of the 3 natives on an adventure into the elements. It was brief but they certainly seemed to enjoy the soft white precipitation that blanketed this region up to my knees.  They also enjoyed watching the “snow” being haphazardly pushed to the sides of their main pathways of transportation. This “removal”, hardly the word I’d use for it, created enormous piles that I will undoubtedly be requested to dig yet another “fort” from.

TIMG_9878he ship’s counselor was able to remain on the bridge while caring for the youngest, who seems to have come down with what is known here as “the common cold”. As the chief medical officer, I see no cause for further medical assistance at this time.

I will be sending a third away team, composed of only myself, to obtain supplies for tomorrow’s inevitable need for entertaining the natives and much needed beverages for entertaining me. I have left the ship’s counselor and head of engineering in charge until my return.

I suspect another “sleepover” (as they call it here) in my quarters accompanied by the affore mentioned movie entitled “The Book That Keeps On Going” (as the oldest native referred to it) will please the young natives.

I remain hopeful that my co-captain is still able to communicate although he is out of transporter range.  I look forward to his return tomorrow.