This year, like so many in the past, my children and I were home for the better part of two weeks during Christmas. What normally happens when I am faced with two weeks of free time is that I plan to do all those things that I didn’t get around to do while I was working or carting children to sporting events, sleepovers and other assorted activities. What actually happens during this two week period is that my girls and I barely leave the house unless we are taking a shopping excursion to spend a gift card we received as a Christmas present. I wind up spending the better part of these two weeks neglecting my to do list and instead, reading the books I’ve had piled on my nightstand.
The first few days we are home, we have a bit of energy. There is wrapping to be done, food to purchase, and a few parties to attend.
Then Christmas day comes. We are up at the crack of dawn opening presents for what seems like hours. When the living room is appropriately destroyed, we all return to our beds to catch a few more hours of sleep.
Then the descent into delicious laziness begins.
We begin to retire each evening at a later and later time. This, in turn, means we wake later and later each day. It amazes me each and every year how swifly our bodies adapt from a bedtime of 9pm and a wake time of 6am to a bedtime of 1am and a wake time of, say, noon.
Within three days after the holiday, we can barely open our eyes before noon. We rise, I pour myself a cup of coffee and we determine if any of us really need to wander out of the house with any more effort than is required to walk the fifteen feet to my mailbox.
Most days, showers are optional. Most nights, we call for take out food; delivery required. And wine is consumed, lots and lots of wine. (By me, of course, and anyone who happens to stop by. The children are not allowed any wine!) There is something particularly delicious about enjoying a glass of wine all the while knowing one doesn’t have to get up early in the morning.
My girls take this opportunity to sleep as much as humanly possible, most days only getting out of bed in the early afternoon because of an urge to pee or because of the need to find some food. They stay awake into the wee hours of the early morning watching television shows on Netflix or playing video games. This year, my eldest watched the first four seasons of The Vampire Diaries while my youngest obtained stars, trophies or ribbons for winning a countless number of Mario Cart races.
We continue on like this until all of a sudden, everything comes to a screeching halt. Before we know it, Saturday arrives…then Sunday! School begins for them and work begins for me the very next day!
Christmas vacation ends and we are all faced with having to set an alarm for the first time in more than two weeks. The simple act of sliding the alarm button to ‘set’ on my Iphone nearly sapped all of my energy.
Once darkness fell Sunday night, the ambiance in my house changed. Gone was the carefree behaviors that come with an unlimited amount of free time ahead of you. Replaced with it was the knowledge that it was back to the real world the very next morning.
I, of course, had trouble falling asleep and never really fell to sleep soundly. Instead, I tossed and turned all night, knowing I had to get up at six am the next morning. From above me, I heard the sound of my daughter’s footsteps as she made her way to the bathroom several times throughout the night. Apparently, if you can’t sleep, the next thing that comes to mind is a trip to the bathroom.
My eldest face-timed her friend at four in the morning and they chatted about how neither of them could sleep. A very productive way to spend their time. <eye roll)
When I went into their rooms Monday morning, they both were completely and utterly exhausted. I felt certain it would be one of those days where I’d have to climb the stairs to their rooms countless times to ensure they were out of bed, though I doubted I had the energy to do so.
Thankfully, both girls got up and out of bed without too much trouble and we were able to make it to school on time. Disaster averted…for one day, that is.
Unfortunately, my girls and I will go through this same process when spring break arrives – a much shorter time span by half.
Then comes the summer….and we begin all over again.
Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water. She resides in Clemmons, North Carolina with two very tired young girls who are less than thrilled to be returning to school and getting up at zero-dark-thirty once again. Her books can be purchased here:http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!donna-small/c1ewn