Last Friday, I did something that has never been done in my 12.5 years as a teacher...I took the day OFF for absolutely no reason at all. This may seem like such a minor thing, and may not even be blog worthy, but for lack of a more interesting post, here goes.
I will admit, especially in the last couple of years, to feeling a wee bit of jealousy toward the moms who, in a very calm, cool, and collected manner, drop off their children for school and drive off in peace and quiet into the great "unknown" (which is life beyond my four walls). This is not an "I wish I had your life" kind of feeling, but more of a "I would love to try that for a day and see what I could accomplish with six uninterrupted hours!" Any days off for me are days off with the kids or days off with sick kids, so you can imagine that "grass is greener" syndrome that I might at times experience.
Since my job doesn't really accrue vacation time or anything like that, there is always a huge measure of guilt (personal issue, I guess) if I even have to take a sick day. Knowing that someone else has to mess up their day to compensate for me, well, I feel like a loser.
So, here we are now well into the second quarter of the school year, and believe it or not, my kids have perfect attendance. No sickness worthy of a day off and I'm extremely thankful for their good health, but it has also meant that my house has been spiraling out of control for the last 12 weeks. For that sentence to have meaning, you have to understand that I'm not a person who freaks out over surface dust and a little clutter, so for me to say the house was out of control has serious implications. :)
So, I approached my father, aka boss, and told him that I had succumbed to the stresses, pressures, and general overall craziness of my life, and that I must have a day off simply to maintain my sanity. I assured him that this would not be a day of relaxation (took care of the guilt), but a day to reclaim the remains of a little brick ranch in Cridersville, and surprise my husband and kids with a clean house and a hot meal at our very own table. Let the fun begin.
Friday morning dawned sunny and beautiful. I felt energized just knowing that my house would certainly sparkle and shine within just a couple of hours. I awakened the kids, and was met with, "That is SO not fair! Why should you get the day off when we don't?" Ahhh...gotta love em! We rushed around, preparing lunches and piano books in our typical hurried fashion, and made it to school in a TIMELY manner...notice the emphasis. It helped that my bazillion inches of hair only had to make it into a semi ponytail, we wouldn't have to carry with us anything and everything we might need for the day, and my darling two-year-old could stay snuggly wrapped in her blanket sleeper for the 5-minute ride to school!
And for one brief moment, I slipped into the world of the SAHM, opening the doors of the minivan, feeling the escape of boundless energy as 3/4 of the gang exited to begin their school day, and I drove off into the "great unknown", which actually was unknown for a moment...until I heard a little voice from the back seat saying, "I'm hungry, mom." In my world, breakfast is largely unheard of, but seeing the need for an energy boost to be able to maximize this cherished day, we opted for orange juice and a breakfast sandwich. We were off to a great start!
Within moments things began to take shape. I could actually see the large counter area in the kitchen, which is a constant hub for clutter and debris of all kinds. The vegetable garden which had begun to grow on the kitchen floor found its way into the dustpan. The large front window that seemed to have become tinted, once again allowed the beaming rays of sunlight to flow onto the hardwood floors...floors that were beginning to peek out from under the thin layer of dust bunnies that had moved in and made babies.
It wasn't too long before I realized we didn't have a mop (yeah, I'm serious), and Alli and I made a trip to the dollar store for "supplies", which included a Dr. Pepper (for energy, of course). By the end of that little excursion, Alli was ready for a nap, so for the next two hours, right up until we had to pick the kids up from school, I moved furniture, captured those dust bunnies, wiped down cabinets, utilized my new mop, and made dinner...in complete peace and quiet!
As I thought back over my day, I wondered what I would do if this were my life...what would I do the next day, and the next, and the next? Wow.
It was nice to hear the comments as the family came home: "What's for dinner? It sure smells good!" and "The house looks great!" Then my oldest son, who seems to have a way with words these days, iced the cake. He picked up his heavy, Longaberger pottery plate to fill it with food, and not paying attention (another gift of his) almost dropped it. He looked at me with his typical silly grin and said, "Oh, sorry mom, I was thinking it was styrofoam..." Poor kid. Scarred for life.
So that's the story of my day "off". Much needed, much appreciated, and much anticipated again sometime in the future.
I know the dust bunnies will be back in force, things will once again get chaotic and out of control, and we will occasionally eat off of styrofoam. But it felt good to do it different, even for a day, and I'm happy to be back where I belong: right in the middle of 7 little shining faces who eagerly await their next phonics lesson!