I’m typing this on a Sunday afternoon at my kitchen table. My four year old is playing quietly and my husband is stretched out on the couch watching the Food Network and HGTV alternately. My big kids are out playing with my nephew. The Saints won today. House church was crowded but lovely and the dishwasher is whisking away the last of the breakfast mess. All is well…. very well.
Two weekends ago, however, things weren’t quite so calm. We catered a 100th birthday party on Saturday and then delivered food to a baby shower on Sunday, then I hosted a kickoff event Sunday afternoon for National Assisted Living Week, my busiest work week of the year. That Sunday began a jam-packed week of special events, designed to bring attention to assisted living and get the public out to the home where I work. It’s a high pressure time for me, and since my husband, our chef, is one of the most special parts of the home where we work, his food plays a key role which creates a pretty intense week for him, too. Fast forward through the week to Friday and see me leaving work, dissolving into a puddle of tears as soon as I closed my car door.
I headed home looking forward to a weekend more than I had in a long time, and then I realized something: I HAD SKIPPED THE WEEKEND BEFORE!!! No wonder I was a basket case! We worked our biggest week of the year after working a solid weekend with no break. I was caught in a no-weekend time warp!! Not good. I then realized that it’s rare for us to overdo on a weekend anymore. We just don’t DO busy weekends! Busy weeks? Oh yes. But busy weekends…. uh, no.
Over the past year since taking on the task of schooling my kids and working full time, I’ve developed a weekend “routine” of sorts. I didn’t realize until assisted living week just how much our weekends recharge us as a family. Here are a few things we do (or don’t do):
1) We rest. My first thought when I typed that was “Duh…. Everybody rests on the weekends!” But do they? I’m not sure.
When I hear other moms talking, I often hear lists of sports activities, rehearsals, recitals, church activities and general busy-ness that fill the weekends. Sometimes it makes me feel weird… weird because we don’t get up on Saturday mornings and go to baseball games, football games, or church work days. Ya’ll, on Saturday mornings we sleep in. At least as much as any 4 year old child will allow, which means 7:30 or 8:00. Even when my little one comes knocking on my bedroom door on Saturday mornings, I can usually get him a small snack and drink and get at least another hour of relative quiet out of him. When everyone starts stirring around, I usually make a “treat” breakfast of something we don’t normally have time to cook during the week. Then, we chill out some more. We might go to the farmer’s market and pick up a veggie haul for the week, we might stop in at our local Chic-fil-a and enjoy a nice late lunch while our little one plays. It’s not unusual for us to spend Saturday afternoon visiting with friends or just all together in the house but doing our own things like reading, watching movies, polishing our nails (at least Mackenzie and me) or playing outside.
2) We reflect. Again, the kneejerk reaction of “Duh… most churchgoin’ people reflect on Sundays.” But again… do they?
There were many years that my weekend church activities were so numerous and all encompassing that they gave me no time to actually commune with God. Heh… My favorite day was Monday, partly due to the fresh start of a new week but mostly due to getting a rest from the intensity of my weekends!
Sunday mornings around here now are quiet. We sleep in again. Then I get up slowly and get started on house church breakfast. The kids pitch in and help if there are any last minute things that need to be put away before everyone arrives. About 10am, the front door starts to open and everyone trickles in. Yes, I make breakfast for everyone (average of 10 to 12 people) but even so, my oven and coffee pot are the only things that get remotely overworked. Breakfast is an easy meal to pull together. I do biscuits most weeks, because I ENJOY IT and by now, I can get a few dozen biscuits in the oven as fast as you can open a can of “whop” biscuits. Biscuits work for me because they’re flexible and forgiving. They can be made with a variety of different fats and liquid and flours so they don’t always necessitate a trip to the store. There are some weeks when someone will bring donuts, or bagels, or something that means I don’t cook. We keep it simple but we also really value the act of breaking bread together.
Once church is over, the rest of the afternoon is usually spent relaxing and preparing. I’ve learned that planning my menu and getting some school stuff together on Sunday afternoons makes the week easier for me. I’m also discovering that the hours of unhurried, quiet activity give me time to think, pray, and reflect.
3) We revel. Hehe… Of course we do! We live in New Orleans!
Seriously, on weekends we play. I play. To play means to do fun stuff you like. I define this for you because I once forgot that definition. The kids do stuff with friends, play games, ride bikes and actually enjoy their toys. I read books, watch my favorite shows, give myself a mani-pedi, go on a date with my hubby. During certain… ahem… seasons of the year, playing might involve Mardi Gras parades, football games, or festivals of pretty much any or every kind. New Orleans is the kind of place where the fun can overwhelm you. There’s too much fun and not enough time!!! To live in this town and forget how to play is a travesty and yet… it happens. If it can happen here… it can happen anywhere.
The time warp weekend made me proud because it made me see that we are catching on to “no.” We’ve systematically said no to things and created a weekly oasis for ourselves and I’m so glad we have. I see now more than ever how much we need it. Every once in a while things happen and a lost weekend can’t be avoided. In the case of the recent time warp I wish I would have prepared better and planned better. I would have done extra meal planning and shopping, maybe tried to give myself a “mini-weekend” one evening. I could’ve used a little extra emotional padding to make up for the lack of R, R, and R.
The fact is that if we don’t guard them, every weekend will turn into a time warp weekend. Perhaps to those sitting in stands by 8am on Saturday morning, those shuffling kids from one birthday party to the next, those running from rehearsal to Bible study to committee meeting, our weekends are lame. Maybe boring. Maybe our old fashioned weekends are a time warp of their own.
I guess some may see it that way. But I don’t think looking into my husband’s or my children’s eyes is lame. I rather enjoy a laugh with a friend without having to hurry. I relish those extra snuggles in bed, those sounds of unstructured child’s play, those slow, savored cups of coffee and bites of breakfast. I can hear myself think, hear God speak, and see past the crazy rush of life. For me, looking forward to the weekend has taken on a whole new meaning over the last year.
So what are your weekends like? How do you recharge?