For instance, when Lauren is away to preschool, Landon's morning nap is the most glorious stretch of silence -- perfect for doing nothing. To shatter the quiet with clanging dishes in the sink or shoving around in the laundry room would ruin the effect, and I do love to hoard silence. It's such a rare, perfect thing.
So yesterday, I hoarded. While Landon slept for two and a half hours, I burrowed into the couch. A blanket was tucked around me, forbidding me from escape. There was a pillow on my lap, propping up my novel. I'm convinced that my body completely shut down in this time, only expelling enough energy to turn a page or allow my eyes to focus.
It was wonderful.
But then, Landon woke up: he nursed; we retrieved Lauren from school; she went to her room to play quietly; Landon napped again; I ate lunch and checked email, and then looked around myself.
My house was a disaster. I had plans to make some french bread for dinner later but there was no counter space on which to knead dough. I went into my bedroom to find my shoes and saw instead three loads of laundry I'd meant to fold.
The grumpies overcame me. Instead of using my morning hours to knock out some nastiness around this place, I'd done NOTHING. And when Mia came home from school, Landon would be mostly awake for the afternoon and I'd have my hands so full of chores that I'd have almost no time to play. To do art projects with the girls. To experience my kids.
No, while they ran around outside in the soft and perfect, warm afternoon, I'd be stuck inside, sulking. Slamming things around in the kitchen with clumsy speed, hoping to have dinner ready before bedtime.
I was mad at my hoarded free-time. I know it's not socially cool (something I've never claimed to be anyway) to announce that me-time is selfish, but that's exactly how I felt yesterday.
By the time Justin and I went to bed, I had gotten almost nothing done. It was as if I'd literally sat around all day eating bon-bons and watching soap operas: the banal stereotype of stay-at-home moms. That was me.
I lamented. "I'm so mad at myself," I told Justin. He sat on the edge of the bed where I was crumpled in a heap at the foot. "There was so much I needed to do today, and I just...skipped it all. You know what I did? I read. That's all. For over two hours -- enough time to clean the whole house -- I read my book. Ugh! Why am I so lazy?!"
He raised his eyebrows at my whining. "Well...I mean...just put the book down next time?"
I rolled my eyes. "But the thing is, I WANT to read. I LOVE to read. I'm ADDICTED to reading."
He shrugged. Stepped over some dirty laundry on the floor. Kissed my head on the way to brush his teeth.
Later, we lay in bed. Our lamps made the bed -- our hands, our faces -- warm and golden. My feet were tucked under his calves and we both had books open on our tummies. I closed the paperback cover, flipped the book over and glared at it.
"Finished?" he asked without looking up from his reading.
I sighed. "Yep. It's over now."
"See?" He turned to face me. "And you said you didn't get anything done today." A smile quirked at the corner of his mouth.
I laughed; that tease of a smile filled me with promise.
Anyway, no bon-bons for me today. Lauren and I are going to make banana bread. I'm going to enlist her help to sort the laundry. I'll let her play in the bubbles in the kitchen sink. When Mia gets home, we'll read another few chapters of A Little Princess.
There are things to be done. And motivation, too; a commodity.
Let it be written: I will feel happy with this day at its end. Then, I might search my shelves for a new book with which to reward myself. Bon-bons before bed never hurt anyone.
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