Family life

What would you do with six hours to yourself?

Tracy got this rare, wonderful gift for Mother's Day. Here's what she did (and didn't do) with it.

By Tracy Chappell
What would you do with six hours to yourself?

Precious gifts from my most precious gifts. I admit I live for this stuff!

The extenda-celebration, now dubbed Mother’s Day Weekend, was tested and highly recommended here. During the week, we had Sean’s mom over for a combination birthday/Mother’s Day dinner and on Saturday we spent the day with my parents in Niagara Falls. One mom was not visited, but we will make it up to her (promise!).
This left Sunday for me and I got the precious gift of an afternoon to myself. Better yet, it was preceded by breakfast in bed (liberally shared with my family) and handmade gifts and cards that my kids were jumping over each other to present to me with pride. My husband gave me a lovely necklace and, even more appreciated, six full hours on a gorgeous Sunday to do what I pleased. I am a lucky girl.
I thought about all the things I could do to be productive. After all, crossing off a handful of to-dos would have been a great start for the week ahead. Plus, I’ve been dying (and dreading) a big purge of my closet. The girls’ dresser drawers also need reorganizing for summer. I have a personal project I’m working on, but that would require me to sit in front of a computer for hours. I have a stack of daycare forms to fill out, along with many other random stacks of paper that need sorting and filing. I pondered tackling these things for about four seconds and then I told myself this time was a gift and I should honour it as such. The to-do list was off-limits. (Though I admit I did throw in a load of laundry, but didn’t hang it on the line.)
Once Sean and the girls left, I was both giddy and overwhelmed by the hours that lay before me. When you take work and chores out of the equation, what is left? Here’s how it all played out:

  • I went for a run. It wasn’t a great one because I’m either suffering a cold or have suddenly developed allergies and am congested. So it was short, but good.
  • I had a shower that lasted longer than three minutes.
  • I went shopping. I thought to myself, won’t it be nice to browse around without having a mental stopwatch in my head? But it wasn’t, really. I’m not a big shopper — I’m not sure what I was thinking. I did buy this cool jewellery organizer to help deal with the tangled mass of necklaces and such on a shelf in my room. But this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my day.
  • I read: Yes, this was it. I dug our zero gravity chair out of the shed and hid myself in the backyard. As a treat, I opened up a forbidden Diet Coke, munched on the chocolates Sean got me and cracked open a book a friend lent me practically a year ago about John Hughes and the brat pack. I read for two hours straight, shifting only to find more shade on this gorgeous, sunny day. I didn’t talk. I didn’t think. I didn’t plan ahead for the week. It was perfect.

And now, as they’re on their way home, I’m eager to kiss their smiling faces and hear about their adventures, feeling a little more peaceful and renewed. This past week, a tragedy hit a family that I’ve known my whole life. It’s the worst kind of tragedy (if you can classify such a thing) — the loss of a child — and I’ve had a hard time getting it off my mind. It makes you hug your babies tighter, stop and watch them in wonder as they do their everyday, miraculous things. It certainly makes me feel like concern over who should be celebrated on Mother’s Day is a ridiculously trivial, ungrateful thing to ponder. These things have a way of helping to refocus our perspective for the good.
So as much as I’ve enjoyed this chance to seize a little “me time,” I’m reminding myself today to be ever grateful that I wear this badge of motherhood, regardless of its trying moments, and to embrace each day. We never know what tomorrow brings.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, my friends. Tell me how you ended up spending your day and what you would do with six hours to yourself. Plus, is this something you would want for Mother's Day, or would you rather spend the day with your kids? I'm curious if I'm the only one!

This article was originally published on May 14, 2012

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