Friday, February 6, 2009

Free Time

Does that sound like an oxymoron to you? It often does to me. I get lost in the "shoulds" and ought tos". I love snow days because they are free time. Well, they have the capacity to be because you could clean closets, but there's snow outside and you should go play in it. Oops I said should. I don't think I always knew this. And certainly when I worked full time I was mostly feeling guilty all day and couldn't enjoy the day. I was either missing some important meeting or could be working on some letter or document on the computer.

Since the windstorm in September, I feel like I have a new-found understanding of what a gift a snow day can be. In September, the power was out, the days were warm and long and we hadn't really gotten into the swing of school. Those days were like extra days of summer. Rather than shooing the kids out and cleaning closets (which I couldn't because I couldn't really see with no power), I took them to the river or the reservoir. We went on hikes and played board games. We came up with reasons why no electricity is a good thing. Among the top ones for my kids were--playing with fire, no homework and no school. The top ones for me were family night every night (no internet or video games), community grill outs and meals, and of course drinking all the beverages in the refridgerator before they got warm. Hey here's a thought--no internet, no guilt. hmmmmmm

Recently we've had 4 snow days. We kept power, thank goodness, because no power when it's 2* out is way different then when it's 70* out. My first instinct was to curl up in my pjs and watch movies while my kids went out sledding. I mentioned something about "walk" and George, one of our golden retrievers looked at me with his doe eyes and then attached himself to my side until I acquiesced. Mollie and I got our snow clothes on and joined some friends and took a magical walk in the woods. I think we were out for 3 hours. It was so beautiful. We, and later I, went on a walk like this every day--discovering some new spot or snow covered field. We laughed at the dogs, we laughed with our friends, we went sledding down an icy hill on our knees (on purpose).

It was unexpected. Maybe that's the trick, maybe it's not free time, but found time that makes it so special. I found it the first day, but I made sure to enjoy it the subsequent days and I hope I remember it always. Take time, make time, be in the moment.

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