Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beautiful Saturday

It's time to breathe.
It's time to rest.
It's time to relax.

Oh, I cannot even tell you how much I live for Saturday mornings. Sleeping in, reading, catching up on email and Facebook and blogging, snuggling with the dog and the hubby. I get up for coffee and come back into bed and just revel in the fact that I am not at work. It's no wonder God put Sabbath into the same set of Ten Commandments where not murdering someone is at. It's just as important. Plus, it makes it easier not to murder someone if you have a day off from work each week.

When I was growing up Seventh-Day Adventist, the Sabbath felt almost like a punishment. I don't blame the church or my mom for this. There is no blame here. There is a lack of ability to describe such a wonderful thing as 'rest' to a child, or even a teenager. So much of your life when you are younger revolves around your own desires -- you want to go to the mall, so you go to the mall. You're on Spring Break, and you want to sleep in, so you sleep in for seven days in a row... and then all summer long, too. You want to hang out with your friends, so you hang out with them. There's not a longing deep inside you for a day off from the stress and hard work, where you can just relax and be yourself, and revel in the freedom and joy it gives you, because that's your everyday life. I'm not saying, for any of you teens out there, that I don't appreciate the stress of being a teenager. But on the flip side, you're not providing for anyone but yourself, usually. If you have a job, it's for your own income, savings, or blowing on Taco Bell and movies. If you have stress from schoolwork, you're on your own merit to get good grades, perhaps to please your parents, but really for your own future, not anyone else's. You still have leeway. Freedom. When you're an adult, you don't have the luxury of staying home a day from work because you don't feel like going that day -- you have to shove yourself into things that you don't want to do, because you have to pay your rent or mortgage, you have to pay for gas, and electric, and water, and sewer, and phone, and internet, and cell phone, and trash pickup, and vet bills for your pets, and insurance, and gas for your vehicle, and home improvement projects, and clothing, and vehicle maintenance, and all of the stuff for your kids, and groceries, and (do you see how this list really has no end?)... and so you just LIVE for the day you have off each week. Off from work, off from cleaning the house, off from driving other people places, off from your regular life, and into this bliss where you can have the freedom to choose what you want to do that day. Sleep in, write, drink coffee, sleep some more, read the paper, take a walk or a bike ride... Adam and Eve were created as adults who worked, so it stands to reason that the Sabbath really meant something to them. I don't think it really means anything to anyone until they sit back and meditate on how it will make a difference in their life to ... just... rest. And be thankful for the time you have to do it.

Last night, our daughter left for her trip to Washington D.C. Her best friend is going, also, and the two of them will have a great time, I'm sure. I, on the other hand, felt this moment of panic, as if I could flash forward and see what it was going to be like when they all go off to college. Suitcases and pillows and duffel bags abounded, and parents were milling all around, not sure if they should stay or go, hugging their kids as nonchalantly as possible, but you could see by looking in their eyes they all felt the same thing I did. PANIC. Panic that this is all happening too fast. These kids were just hanging on us a few days ago, asking us to color with them, read to them, play with them... and now they have suitcases and are taking a bus trip to Washington D.C. for five days, and next week they'll be off at college or getting married or having babies of their own. Okay, I fully realize I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I ask you: AM I? REALLY? Because I blinked and now she's thirteen and I'm thinking of having my eyelids surgically altered, because I'm scared to death to blink again.

It's different with daughters. I love the boys so very much, of course, I don't love any of them more or less than the others... but I feel more comfortable with the boys growing up and having freedoms. I realize I have double standards, and I hated those double standards when I was younger. My brother got to have his own car, and a later curfew, and hang out with his friends, and do things that I wasn't allowed to do when I was his age a few years later. My room had to have the door open at all times if there was a boy anywhere in the house! I think moms, in general, are less protective of boys than they are of girls. It doesn't mean the love is any different, it just means there is some sort of innocence about girls that we're attempting to protect as long as possible. Part of me wonders if this is a bad thing -- if we are perpetuating the gender gap, or enabling our men to have a sense of superiority over women, or an inferiority complex of their own if the girls become successful. But truly, I think that we're just, in essence, closer to girls than we are to boys most of the time. We can understand them. We have the same emotional outlook at life, the same sense of vulnerability, the same self-consciousness, the same body parts, the same hungers and drives. It's easier with girls because... well, because we've been there. We know what it feels like to have your heart broken by a boy. Granted, your boy can have his heart broken by a girl, but though we can assume it must hurt, does it hurt in the same way? Will he grieve in the same way that you did for little heart-throb Bobby when you were 12? or 15? or 26? Will he be comforted when you tell him things that you know would have comforted you? It's hard to know. We can try, but it always feels like we're trying harder with our boys than with our girls, no matter how good of a relationship we have with them. Girls have an inherent understanding of our hearts and our emotions, and boys tend to think we love the girls more when, really, we are just fumbling through because we have no idea what we're doing.

Of course, that sort of describes parenthood in general, doesn't it? I said in a recent article I wrote, "There's no such thing as good parenting. I feel like we're all just throwing eggs at a frying pan, and once in awhile one of us happens to make an omelet."

I keep waiting for the weather to warm up so I can go walking every day. I have lost 8 pounds over the last two months, which feels really great to me. I want to keep losing, but the most important thing to me is that I am healthy. I want to be able to have body strength and endurance, a higher constitution (I feel like I'm back to playing RPGs... what can I do to get STR +2, CON +3, and END +3? I picked up a piece of flaming magical armor! Roll 1D4 for bonus to each! Okay, if you understood that, I'm sorry... I've tried to ween myself from my geekdom, but it hasn't fully occurred, even at age 34.)

I suppose it's time to move on to the next piece of my restful day, which is to post this on Facebook, catch up there, and then do some reading in the hot bubble bath. Ahhh, I love Saturdays!

Have a good one yourself.

Stephanie Jean

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