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When I asked the kiddos at the lunch table today, “What are your plans for the long weekend?”, I was pleasantly surprised to hear things like: “I really don’t have any plans.” “We’ll probably eat pancakes.” “I just got a puppy so we’ll play, I think.” Around here, four-day trips to Paris or horse shows or all-weekend basketball tournaments are not unusual, so when I think that a handful of these dear ones have a few days of open air and unstructured time, it makes me so glad.
One girl, when I asked what they did last weekend, said (roughly, as I recall), “Well, I stayed in bed even though I was wide awake. And I drew a lot — I had this dream that I lived in a village by the sea where the streets all ran right into the water! I tried a lot of different times to get it right, and the best part was that my house was the closest one to the water so I had the best view. There were shops and restaurants that went out over the water, and I wished I really could visit a place like that so I drew it. It took me pretty much all day! And then it was dinner time.”
And so my weekend lies ahead. I would like to pattern mine after hers. When I consider how often I dreamt and drew and colored (and just plain lollygagged) on the weekends when I was younger, it’s shameful that I don’t use those gifts or that time the way I used to. I admit that the quest for perfection sometimes trips me up and I slam into its cold wall, and I find I’d rather not start something that doesn’t have a purpose (or a commissioner’s cash) at the other end of it. Just today, in fact, I challenged my third graders to drop their defenses and join their memories with their imaginative powers while drawing some preliminary Chinese dragons. Man, it was an uphill battle. They’re only in third grade and they have a hard time remembering how unhindered they were just a mere three years prior.
I know that my weekend will also have to include un-decking the house from its twinkly Christmas state (but only partially, because “Winter” is the current official holiday that I like to celebrate). My weekend will also include taking out the trash, cleaning my bedroom which is yet a total wreck from the action of the past two weeks, and I’ll also need to bundle up and get outside for to move my body around and try to turn around the delicious damage that was done to my waistline over the holidays. I’ll also need to wield my trusty pruning shears and cut the tree branches that scrape scarily across my bedroom window, sounding much like the witches’ fingers from my girlhood nightmares. So many adult-ish things must be seen to, but here’s hoping that I might take some time, stay in my pretty bed with my new, cocoa powder-colored fur blanket, my coffee and my Moleskine book, some pencils and paints, some music. Lollygagging is a gift too, see.