Last night, as I was falling asleep, I realized I had no real obligations on the agenda for today. This kind of day is a very rare occurrence for me, and has been especially absent lately. At the time, I told myself that this would give me the opportunity to do things from my "backup to-do list" (the one that always lives in the back of my mind) like take the kids to the park, do some grading, or write on this blog about some of the things that have been keeping me too busy to post lately. I thought I might make some granola or a special dinner or dessert, or get ahead in my lecture planning. Ooh! Maybe I could clean the garage! Or have a nice run! What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that would bring!
But this morning when I woke up, none of those things happened. Our house was messy; we've all been too busy to really do a good job of picking up after ourselves. We had loads of laundry hanging out in piles downstairs. It felt icky and chaotic here, and I finally reached the end of my very long willingness to keep going and going and going.
And so today I have done nothing of note. The kids watched a video this morning and then drew on the driveway with chalk. We didn't go anywhere, shop for anything, or do anything special. I did not do any exercise. I didn't make a fancy lunch, and I'm not planning a special dinner. The most accurate term for what I've done today is probably "puttering" around the house. Both the kids fell asleep during rest time this afternoon (which is like the Holy Grail of potential mommy productivity), but I talked to Maureen on the phone and watched some clips of The Daily Show on the internet. I have been leisurely working my way through our laundry and the stacks of mail and kids' drawings that are sitting all over our house.
And I must say: it feels really good. Unusually so. Mostly because I am a person who is always busy, and is prone to fill up these kinds of free days or weekends. I can always think of some extra project that could be done or some fun adventure I could have with the kids. Recently, though, I read something my friend Jennie wrote, about that feeling of always needing to be busy. She talked about what lies we tell ourselves when we believe that we can really "get ahead." Like if I just clean the house thoroughly enough, or plan out my lectures for the rest of the semester, or bolster the kids with lots of extra attention, that everything will be perfect and I will finally be able to rest. That next week will be an easy week. Her conclusion was that there is never an easy week, and that we waste our lives wishing for one.
It would be great to pretend that I thought of all this at the beginning of the day and made a conscious choice to rest today, but the reality is that I just hit a wall, and only see the benefit of our inactivity in hindsight.
Much has been afoot at the Sterup household lately. I have lots of things I could write about; there is lots of news to share. Maybe tomorrow. For now I am just going to tell myself that one little post is enough.