Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Gift of Sundays

My son told me today that he is thankful because he goes potty on the potty chair. I am also very, very thankful for that. My daughter wrote dozens of notes to all our family members about all the love she has, and I am thankful for that, too.

On this day of grateful love, I'm thankful for the usual slate of blessings, for a few nerdy things like the 19th amendment, and some silly things like our awesome new space heater. But this year, I think the thing I am most grateful for is that Chef Matt now has Sundays off.

In a couple's opposite-schedule world, one whole day off together is like a Yeti. You know it exists, you may have glimpsed it once or twice, but it eludes regular sightings. You yearn for Christmas, and if you are like us, you keep having kids in anticipation of two whole weeks at home together when the baby is born.

Matt has not had a regular weekend day off in five years. Oh, he's had a day here and there, and we had those five perfect days in Napa Valley in 2010. But for the past several years, we have operated on an entirely split shift. It has saved us so much in daycare money. It has also been a strain that I am not sorry to see partially disappear.

Wednesday through Friday, we are awake in the house together for about 15 minutes total. We are those neighbors whose lawn is just past embarrassingly long, and those people who wade through 47 loads of laundry, only to leave them languishing in clean piles for two weeks. Without a full day to get through the regular stuff, we have no chance of getting to the batteries that need changing or the garage that needs organizing.

A full day off together will change our lives, which sounds dramatic, but there's truth in it. When he's home, I breathe easier. We pull strength from our togetherness and cease to operate like a long-distance business, fulfilling duties and updating only over the phone. Cramming groceries dishes bills mopping diapers raking scheduling vacuuming and all else into a few hours a week leaves us little time for the kids or each other. A full day seems luxurious and long, 75-minute hours rolling out in slow motion, with possibilities of fully clean rooms, three meals with six people, and potential trips to the amazing places like the zoo.

When we told our daughter that daddy would be home on Sundays, her face lit up and she said, with joy and disbelief, "Both my parents home on the same day?" That reaction alone told us that it had been too long.

Sundays belong to us again, and this is what I am thankful for today. That, and the potty-training and the love. What is wonderful in their world is in mine, too.

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