Today is the day for ‘Pirate Ship Storytelling, ‘ the one day a month where we crowd into a room with lots of people, find a comfortable cushion, and let this totally amazing weirdo spin tales of goddesses, shipwrecks, and treasure islands. Then we wander around the top deck of a huge ship, because we are too afraid of the statue people (aka mannequins) on the lower decks. We eat lunch, maybe outside, always chips. Wander along the river, maybe climb into a boat for a breezy ride.
It is always an amazing day, and it is today, so then how come I woke up thinking, ‘Oh, JESUS, I just want to stay home’? Even at the risks of more Jehovah’s Witnesses, even with the annoyance of trying to stay awake in the late afternoon.
So then the guilt kicks in. And I think, ‘Hey, no big deal if we skip that even though we also skipped last month. It is a beautiful day. This may be the only beautiful week of the summer. Wait, I know! We should go to the zoo! They can splash in the little kid fake river and we can just wander around.’
Then my pelvis aches, my inertia keeps me sitting here in bed (though showered and dressed) while the kids lay together in Snort’s bed watching YouTube videos about people making Angry Birds out of playdoh.
So I think, let’s take it easy, let’s stay in, then maybe later we can go to the little farm around the corner. I test it out. No immediate objections of my mind or body. Coconut suggests the library, and I think, yeah, okay, I can handle that. No weird time limits, stressful drives across town, etc. We can wander and maybe buy them chips in the little cafe we sometimes go to.
Still I sit here, wondering if I am somehow shortchanging my children, even as my head knows it is GOOD for generic children and great for MY children to play outside, to have empty hours to fill with imagination, to just do what we want. My mother guilt kicks in, and I think, Jesus, am I depressed? Is that why I don’t want to go out? Or is this chickenpox hangover? Or am I just the laziest person in the universe?
I remember summers past, how time somehow slows down and stretches out, how we do less but it feels like more, how we have lazy days watering plants and drawing with chalk and splashing in the garden. And as I write these words, as the visceral memory of two babies who could not yet sit up stretched out in the sunshine, as two bigger babies crawled like maniacs later that summer, it comes back to me. I remember the next year, the daily trips to the park, the wandering hikes in the woods, eighteen months old and walking for an hour on narrow paths littered with roots and stones.
I remember all that a lot more clearly, more sweetly, than most of our trips out. The days we accidentally have a great time doing nothing, but what a shame- they can’t be planned. They just have to happen.
But I guess what I can do, what I can try to not feel guilty about, is giving them an opportunity to happen.
Tags: Writing makes me sane