I am sitting on the front porch of the house I grew up in, here in the State Formerly Known as Home.
I have sat here for approximately eleventy million hours this week.
It's been wonderful.
The girls are in day camp for six - six! - blissful hours a day (well, blissful for me; India has outgrown this camp for the most part, and Cici universally hates full-day day camp programs because they're "too long a day" for her liking, but *I'm* having a delightful time!), and I think I've spent 90% of their campgoing hours right here, in this rocking chair, on this porch.
My justification for sitting around like a lump is that I'm doing my "professional reading," and I am (well, not right now, of course, but when I'm not blogging, I'm reading). I'm picking away at some stuff I've collected over the past year, but mostly, I'm sitting. Occasionally my mom or dad pop out to say a few words, but for the most part, I have the porch to myself. If I start feeling lonely, I head over to Facebook for a minute to say hi, then I'm back to my jam-packed agenda of....sitting.
This is the best. vacation. EVERRRRRRR.
Now, summer vacation is usually presented as an opportunity to do - go places, see things, get outdoors, swim, hike, bike, etc. Part of me feels a little bit guilty that I'm not out there ripping it up; somewhere over the past ten months, five extra pounds found their way to my waistline and I definitely could stand to get rid of them. But when I think about going on a hike or taking a swim or doing some yoga, my mental reaction is always....eh. Maybe later. Then it is later, but I have to go get the kids and then figure out what we're going to do for the remainder of the day and then mediate endless discussions about how much TV they're going to be allowed to watch or how come we never have anything good for dinner or (the most recent one) why it is not appropriate for my precocious rising 4th grader to read The Hunger Games. Then it's time to make tomorrow's sandwiches and nag everyone to pick stuff up, not just dump it on the floor and make sure we do the summer reading lesson the younger one needs to do and wash up for bed, like, really wash up for bed, not just look at soap and water and toothpaste and assume that they somehow magically will apply themselves to the viewer's body, and then there's read-alouds and then it's time for bed. And somehow another day has come and gone and I haven't gone on a long swim or done body-weight squats or gone antiquing or done any of the myriad things there are to do in a tourist town, in Maine, in August.
Surprisingly, I'm (mostly) fine with that. There's the occasional twinge of guilt, but honestly, I'm just too grateful to care.
Thinking things over, I've realized that this is the *first* time since Celeste joined our family that I have had an extended chunk of time to do this kind of nothing. The last time I got paroled was able to leave hearth and home for an extended period was when I went to Constitution Camp for four days, but even then I was busy with coursework and breakout sessions and all that arglebargle. This is the first time I've had such concentrated down time in six years, and I needed it far more than I realized. To be honest, I didn't realize how tired I was - not physically tired, but mentally sapped. Even summer vacations and holiday breaks haven't been as refreshing as I thought they'd be. I signed up for this gig and I love having a close, busy family, but I've been alternating between being on duty 24/7 during vacations and being on duty and working my @ss off during the school year. So this - all this silence, all this calm - is glorious. As a card-carrying, office-holding, secret-handshake-knowing member of the introvert club, I'd rather be here on this porch, looking over the front yard and the neighbor's garden and the beach across the street, enjoying all this delicious solitude, than just about anyplace else on earth.
You're welcome to join me; there's a second rocking chair on the porch in a nice, shady spot. The temperature is neither too hot nor too cool for comfort, the bugs are nonexistent, and the dog is lying contentedly in the grass. Bring your book or your iThing or journal or whatever it is you want to do with yourself for the morning and come on by. Just don't talk to me while you're doing it and we'll get along just fine.