It wasn't that long ago that the notion of spending an entire weekend at home doing absolutely nothing worth a poop seemed like a figment of the imagination. Something that only happened in the books we hoped to read some day when we actually had time. It used to be that if we had only 3 major activities, such as a soccer game, a birthday party and a Cub Scout wiener roast, we felt like we got off easy. "Wow", we would say, "What a relaxing weekend!" And then, of course there were weekends that were really off the hook. The t-ball, wedding, pool party, youth event, award ceremony, prayer breakfast, visit the in-laws weekends. Weekends that left us so exhausted we couldn't wait to lay our heads down on Sunday night knowing that simple, predictable Monday was awaiting us.
The completely uneventful weekend has taken us a long time to get used to. Learning to enjoy and actually appreciate our boredom has been an unexpected challenge. Although much more so for Steve and I than for our kids, who, given the choice of vegging with Scooby Doo or running errands like a Grand Prix driver amped up on crank, will favor the world of Hanna Barbera every time. In the beginning this drove me nuts! "Why" I would screech "don't you want to join the world of the living?". "We NEED to get out of the house!" "It's not healthy to sit here and rot all day long doing nothing!" To which they would reply with a quick glance in my direction, eyebrows raised, mouths closed and immediately return their attention to whatever infomercial, anime marathon or lifetime movie they were watching. After much coaxing, cajoling, bribing, and in the end, a stern announcement from Steve that "anyone not ready to leave this house in the next 5 minute can say goodbye to their TV privileges for the rest of the week", they would scramble to their feet and be ready to hop in the car in record time. At which point someone would ask "Where are we going?"
See, we no longer have a long list of places to be each weekend. No one is awaiting our arrival, expecting our presence, or anticipating our participation. We don't have places to go and people to see. At least not usually. And for my kids, after a long, hard week of speaking Spanish, playing by the rules of another country, riding buses through the big city, practicing futbol, and generally getting by, nothing is exactly what they want to do. It was my sense of uselessness that forced them into the car for some pointless outing in the rain. My discontent at having nothing to do. And it took me about 6 months to finally get used to it.
Now I love it.
I love staying in my PJ's til noon, watching the news next to Steve with a cup of coffee in the morning. Letting the kids watch cartoons until they are so bored with them that they decide to draw or paint or read, to play cards with each other, or practice the guitar or do whatever. I like the silly conversations that happen when there is no agenda and no one is in a hurry. If we want to we can go somewhere - walk to the farmers market, go to the mall, play basketball down the street - but only if we want to.
I think I am beginning to understand the idea behind the Sabbath. The idea that, when you work as hard as my kids do all week long, it's okay - and even beneficial - to just take it easy at the end of that week. To sit around and enjoy each other, and to look back on that week (as God did his creation) and say "Whew, that was a lot of work. I think I'm gonna chill now." In fact, I feel a bit more challenged to make my weekdays count. To make them full and exhausting and rewarding so that when I relax with my boys on the weekends, I will know that I worked as hard as they did, and that my day of rest - laying around, watching TV, reading a mindless novel - will also be a day of reflection on a week well lived. Praise God for simple pleasures and kids that teach their parents how to enjoy them.