Dear Boss (AKA The Me Who Doesn’t Really Lounge Much and Forgets to Play With Her Kids):
I took a sick day today. In addition to the migraine that is trying to infiltrate my body—I just needed a day. If you want the truth, I think you did too. You can be really rigid with those to-do lists and schedules. Always rush. rush. rushing. You really did used to be a lot more fun before those tiny humans came along. Speaking of tiny people, you know who might have needed this day the most? Your youngest kid. (Sorry oldest kid, but you missed out, since you were off at school taking your responsibilities seriously. Clearly not a trait you get from me, as evident by the day your brother and I had.)
I got to spend a lot of time with Little-man today, just being. I didn’t feel 100%, but it wasn’t quite a sick-in-bed-and-can’t-move day, more like sick-enough-to-ignore-responsibilities-day, so we had some quality time to kick it together, completely guilt-free.
I didn’t want to do anything. The weather was gray and windy, perfect for shunting responsibility. There is A LOT I should have done today. I know you’ll get all anxious and edgy just thinking about this, but sometimes it’s best to face things head on; so here goes…
There are two full baskets of laundry that need folding, and another one in the dryer that may or may not be fully dry. (In fact, it’s quite possible that the whole load will need to be re-washed to avoid smelling like a car full of spilt milk on a hot day.)
I’ve also left you a sink-load of dishes that remain untouched…as in Not.Even.Rinsed.Off.
And you have a half-dozen emails and phone calls that need to be returned (some are actually time sensitive and important).
Instead of any of that, I did a lot of stuff I should probably do more of; that you should probably do more of.
Sorry, not sorry.
The day started with an extra long cuddle in bed after Little-man climbed in delighted that I wasn’t in a hurry to be anywhere else. He wasted no time getting in some “tummy touches”. (When he presses his belly into mine as much as he can while saying, Mommy, your belly is just. so. squooooshhhy! as though I’ve finally reached a long sought after and hard to achieve flabby-belly-status.)There were fuzzy covers and dogs everywhere. At one point there was a cat, but he took one look at us, flipped his tail and got on with his day; leaving us to our sloth-ing.
When we were ready, we moved our cuddle-fest to the couch. At this point your child was treated to a breakfast of champions: two cereal bars and a packet of fruit gummies. Hey, it’s not like I didn’t do anything. I had to retrieve a new box of bars from the pantry and open the d – – – things! Sometime during the “breakfast portion” of our day, I even heated up milk and put it in a “special cup” for your little cherub. And before you go all Judgy McJudgerson on me, he did not seem any worse for the wear.
Next, we parked ourselves on the couch for a good 90 minutes and watched a movie…yep, that’s right, an actual movie. Sure, it was animated, but it was also 90 minutes of nothing-doing. I know your almost-four-year-old is almost-never-still and has never actually watched a movie. (God knows you’ve tried.) Maybe his developmental readiness for cinema finally peaked, or…it could be that he was waiting for you to do what I did today:
Lie still (for more than 5 minutes), let him wrap his little legs around you under a cozy blanket (both of you in jammies) and watch…actually watch, the movie with him.
And that is what you did—no phone, no laptop, no getting up a million times to wash dishes, organize toys, or “check something”. Thanks to no caffeine and a dull headache that persuaded you to stay put, you just curled up on the couch with him, for the whole movie.
Today you were utterly free from distractions, and full of hugs.
After the movie, it was upstairs for a super-warm, extra-full bubble bath. (And I don’t mean to brag, but I was told it felt Juuust like a Hot Tub!) Instead of folding laundry, reading on your phone, or cleaning the toilet during said bath, like you usually do, I provided entertainment. There were intense submarine voyages where little knees and tiny toes were spotted underwater and tickled by “passengers” on the vessel. Giant whales in need of teeth brushing beached themselves on the edge of the tub and we both got to work scrubbing and singing along to Raffi…did I mention there was music? Yep, I pulled out all the stops on this one. And for the grand finale, not one…but two, hoodie towels were used, to keep in the warm.
Once he was in his coziest sweats, I read him his favorite book (the one he always wants you to read, that you have read a zillion times and usually hide under a pile of stuffed animals so you don’t have to ever read it again). Then, for old times’ sake, but mostly because I was too lazy to make the trek downstairs, I let him fall asleep on me in the rocking chair; all snug under a blanket. Since I had proclaimed myself task-free, I watched him for a while before laying him in his bed. I studied his little face as he breathed and watched his eyes twitch as he dreamed. I soaked him in and let the moments of our day sit with me, instead of rushing off to be somewhere else, do do something else…that can almost always wait.
Today I noticed that Little-man is not so little anymore. Did you know that in the bathtub, his long body stretches from end to end? And when he is wrapped in his superhero towel (the one that used to drag on the floor when he had the hood on), it barely hangs below his knees? And where the soft, pudgy, baby fat used to be, there are bony arms and legs everywhere? Did you know that his eyelashes are out of control? While we were drawing today, I noticed that when he looks down, they practically touch his cheek. Seriously, where did they come from, and can I have some?!
And since we are on the subject of faces; I discovered that lying nose to nose with a 3-year-old who is giggling is as restorative as soul-food, good music, and yoga combined.
I’ll just wrap up by saying, good for you, for giving me (us) this day to chill. You didn’t actually put up much of a fight, which makes me think there will likely be a lot more “sick days” in our future. I know it set us back a bit and we might all be wearing dirty clothes (or at least smelly) for a few days. But even if we are eating off of paper plates and playing catch up tomorrow, it was worth it. Little-man and I thank you for the time to reconnect and remember how lucky we are to be here, in this house, in this life…together; piles of laundry and all.
Oh, and tomorrow, when Little-man asks you to sit down and do a puzzle, or draw a picture, or hide under a blanket…from the dogs—do it. Not in a little bit, or later, or after you finish… Whatever it is; it can wait. (It waited today, and as far as I can tell, the world is still on its axis.) He is growing and changing so much, and you’ve already been missing it. When he asks you to play, say yes, enjoy him, be still with him. You’ll thank me later.
Your On-the-Mend and Grateful Self
P.S. A few other things…Pajamas can totally double as day wear if you go with neutral tones; proving that “getting dressed” is both overrated and unnecessary. As proof, Little-man told me on more than one occasion (referring to my robe) that he loooved my beauuuutiful dress! Oh, and the dogs are pretty restless and in need of a walk. And don’t bother turning on the front porch lights tonight, the bulbs still need replacing. And if it rains before I get around to reprogramming the drip system, the neighbors…and the environment—are your problem.