Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back home, it's a good day for cocooning

There’s something inexpressibly luxurious about returning from a vacation midway through the week…and still having several days left before the kids have to go back to school.

It’s not even like we were gone that long – five days, four nights – but arriving home on a Tuesday night and having all of Wednesday wide open was the best way our trip could have possibly ended. We had nothing on our calendar yesterday. We just…cocooned. And it’s the best way we could have spent the day.

At least that’s my excuse for why Holly stayed in her pajamas until after lunch.

Yes, we were decadent, the kids and I. But I just didn’t have it in my heart to hurry anyone along yesterday. They both slept late. When Tim finally awoke after eight, he took a very long shower. He loves our oversized shower stall; it’s what he misses most in terms of material items when he’s away from home. I let him relish the comfort of the hot water and steam for as long as he wanted. Holly slept even later: until quarter to ten. When she finally emerged from her room, looking rumpled, she said she was still a little tired. Too tired, naturally, to give any thought to getting dressed. Normally I’m not a fan of what I call “slopping around in pj’s” – experience has led me to believe that the kids’ attitudes tend to brighten and their energy levels to pick up once they’re dressed and groomed – but yesterday I let Holly go with it.

We’d been gone for only five days, which is nothing compared to most of the families we know, who routinely travel to Europe or take cross-country drives for weeks on end. We usually take a weeklong vacation at least once a year as well. So I know four nights away isn’t anything that should require reentry. But for us, whether it was required or not, indulging in reentry was a huge luxury yesterday. We didn’t need to be anywhere or see anyone. Even my parents, who live next door, were away for the most of the day and didn’t drop by.

Even gone for just a few days, the kids craved time to reconnect with their home environment and everything they like about it. Holly missed the dog much more than I expected she would; she spent time with Belle just rolling around on the floor the way they like to do. Tim, besides the shower, just wanted to sit in his room and read, or play a few computer games. After plenty of slobbery time with Belle (and a shower of her own), Holly took out her beading kit and did some crafting. It’s what she likes to do when she has time to herself, and I certainly wasn’t going to interfere.

Not surprisingly, I had plenty to do myself. I had emails to sort through and deskwork to catch up on, as well as bags to unpack and laundry to start. Rick kept the house nice while we were away, but the downstairs floors clearly hadn’t been swept since I left. Grateful for the long free day and the extent to which the kids were keeping themselves busy, I immersed myself in household responsibilities and the small amount of assigned work that was waiting for my return.

All this cocooning meant we didn’t take quite as much advantage of the day’s beautiful, mild, sunny weather as we might have otherwise. I was out briefly in the morning to let the sheep out of their pen, but didn’t even feel all that guilty about neglecting to spend more time outside. I felt like we were doing exactly what we most needed to do: luxuriating in the option of not doing anything. Tim had a baseball scrimmage in the late afternoon, so he eventually got his dose of fresh air and exercise, plus he pulled out the backstop and practiced catching for a while before that. Holly and I headed out midafternoon for a little bit of running (for me) and biking (for her) up and down the common driveway.

Even though by nightfall I’d also fit in a stop at the post office, a visit to the library and a grocery shopping trip, it goes without saying that I didn’t get to everything. There’s still more laundry to do, and my editor surprised me with a story assignment I need to move on quickly. (I’d been hoping to stay assignment-free for school vacation week, but I never turn work down.) The kids haven’t unpacked their suitcases yet, and Tim needs to write our hosts a thankyou note. No matter. Tomorrow is a mostly free day as well; we can cocoon a little more. It’s a luxury, one for which we’re thankful and one we don’t plan to turn down. A few more days of vacation; no urgent plans. Cocoon away, is my motto for now.

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