Lily and Neve, posing with one of their patented weekend projects.
Remember those times when you were young and exuberantly in love, and could barely keep from announcing your feelings at the top of your lungs at all times?
I felt that way this past Sunday, when I read nearly all the articles I wanted to in The New York Times, and I had to tamp down the urge to run down our street screaming, “We’re getting our weekends back!”
It’s true. That teeny-tiny, barely visible little light at the end of the parenting tunnel has lately bloomed into a full-blown lamp. Neve’s self-driven potty training has left us diaper-free; the girls’ extracurriculars are scheduled on weekday evenings, leaving our Saturdays and Sundays blissfully open and obligation-free; and, perhaps the biggest difference of all, the girls have, in these past months, reached an age (3 and 6) where they will often happily play with each other – whether it’s in the bath or in the playroom – for significant chunks of time. (This is the paradox the second child: you have to start from scratch again, and give yourself even more tasks and responsibilities to juggle, but as both kids get older, they’re playmates for each other, thus making your job easier.)
Yes, when they’re too quiet for too long, we have to make sure they’re not giving (more) dolls new haircuts, or painting the cat with blue fingernail polish. But more often than not, they’re doing things like building a project from stuff found in the recycling bin, or playing “indoor beach” (a blue blanket is the water, a brown blanket is the sand), or cutting out and coloring Easter eggs.
Meanwhile, Joe and I lounge around in our pajamas until midday, dozing or reading, or doing chores we used to have to do late at night. We make chai tea. We lean against each other on the couch, pointing out the day’s best comics in the paper, or hang out at the kitchen table, chatting.
We’re remembering again, in bursts, what it was like to indulge in small pleasures, and why people so look forward to weekends.
Because to be honest, since becoming a parent 6 years ago, I’d forgotten. Continue reading