Weekends are the life jacket that help keep us floating, head-above-water, the rest of the week, aren’t they?
I love weekends.
I love family time on the weekends.
I love reading and I especially love doing lots of nothing. I mean, I always have one or two things I want to accomplish on the weekend, but more and more I have learned to build in space for nothing.
Space for sitting out by the fish ponds and just watching the fish. Or watching the kids play catch with Peter. Or picking flowers off the tree that seems to be delayed in this beautiful, perpetual state of pink blossoms.
Sure, I also want to wash some dishes and some laundry on the weekends, but I especially want to carve out time to pour all the things that make me feel the most, “me” back into my life.
So on Friday nights when the house is finally hushed – just shadows and light and me still awake – after a long, loud day it’s my favorite time of the week.
It’s like we can all exhale, waiting for the weekend to fill us back up again.
But this weekend we missed the mark completely.
We had all the right intentions but we made one big mistake: we let our kids drive our agenda this weekend.
I love our little people, but sometimes we get carried away in our desire to surprise and delight them. Sometimes they don’t need surprise, sometimes they just need to be still.
We overcommit to activity when what they really need is roots at home. When they’ve been driving hard at 6 hours of soccer a day they don’t need to do more, they need to rest more.
And the thing about kids is they don’t know what rest looks like unless we show it to them.
Sometimes staying home and poking at the scrubby bushes or playing kick ball will fill them up more than anything we could plan.
Unpacking every piece of furniture from the doll house and replanning how your dolls will spend their days can be the perfect Saturday for a four year old. Paint or playdough or painting your nails. Old coloring books and that plastic caddy of markers. Bikes or scooping leaves out of the water above the fish can feed a soul.
But sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough, does it? Sometimes it feels like we need to make more magic than what the ordinary back yard offers.
And those can be good choices that refresh us – goodness we loved our trip to Medieval times and our vacation in Florida – but this weekend we were all already running low on energy and the better choice would have been to stay put.
Because our plans got tangled up this weekend but we pressed on and it wasn’t bad, and they were surprised, but by the end we were all very, very tired.
Tired parents after a long week combined with needy kids is not a great combination.
“No,” is so hard to say in the face of childish anticipation.
But “no” is a gift that sometimes comes wrapped in layers that have to be peeled back to truly appreciate it.
Sunday was also a morning of rush. And come 1pm I declared our household on full “comfy pants and movies” status. We basically walked in the front door and dropped everything. We snuggled up under comfy blankets and watched our favorite movies and ate our favorite snacks until the meter on our rest tanks slowly started to tick back up.
But it wasn’t enough. Especially not for the parents who still had laundry to catch up on and boxes to unpack.
And a weekend that doesn’t instill rest and refuel us for the rest of the week can leave a bad taste in your mouth. To me it tastes like regret.
But, I’m simply going to pocket that lesson so that next Saturday I’m armed with a more resolved, no.
No to busy and car trips and to-do lists and wants and surprises.
Yes to less and slow and quiet and rest and hours and hours filled up with just exactly whatever we can find at home. Because that is almost always exactly enough.
How was your weekend?