Things About Saturdays

Saturdays were meant for two very specific things: sleeping in and wearing Saturday Shirts. Saturdays were not meant for 16 year olds knocking awkwardly on your bedroom door at 6:05 AM and asking for a ride to the high school. They were also not meant for a phone call at 6:27 from the same 16 year old who forgot her dress for the ski banquet. They were certainly not meant for forgetting keys, cross town hikes and another emergency run to deliver said keys. But this is how our Saturday started out. I didn't even have time to get my Saturday shirt on, which will have to be changed later unless I can figure out a "professional casual" look for a Saturday shirt between now and when I go to work. The issues with the 16 year old wouldn't be so bad except they were an instant replay of yesterday, although today she DID remember to put the milk from her breakfast away and actually started the car herself. Yesterday her younger sister and Very Crabby Driver Mother were waiting in a cold car when she forgot her boots, then her backpack, etc, etc, etc. I am very happy that my kids to participate in fun stuff like skiing, And cross country, and band, and orchestra, and track, and blah blah blah. That's one of the reasons I moved to Bend, and it's one of the reasons that My Adorable Husband works his tail off All the Day Long to pay for them. But when these things start costing us double in gas, wasted milk and sleep deprivation, I start to question the validity of such undertakings. All I did when I was a kid was chores and being grounded and I turned out just fine. Sort of. My kids are constantly comparing us to their friend's parents, the ones who are Super Excited about getting up at the butt crack of dawn and driving through the frozen wastelands to stand in the sub zero temperatures and wait for an hour to see an unidentifiable gliding blob in the blizzard that may or may not be their offspring, cheer wildly for 30 seconds through iced over lips and then seek reprieve from frostbite in the SUV. Some days I wish I was that parent, and don't get me wrong, I miss my days sitting in a small, smelly, semi-heated room watching a variety of my kids play hockey almost every night of the week. I would love to see Halle ski, and watch all of Natalee's races, and catch some of Kizzie's scandals in the hallway at school (which are currently her only extra-curricular activity), but especially when I was a single parent, I had to come to terms with the fact that I just couldn't be there for all of it. I hope that my kids will forgive me. Or at least start putting the milk away. The hardest part about this Saturday morning was the forgotten dress. I think it was salt in the still-festering wound of the absolute rebellion of this Same 16 year old toward wearing a dress for a nice family dinner in Hawaii. Blatant refusal at that point just doesn't equate "oh yes, I would LOVE to run a dress through the snow to you since you forgot it at 6:27 on a Saturday morning." Justice would indicate that the child is subjected to wearing ski tights to the banquet. Grace compelled a grumbling parent to deliver the offending article of clothing. We have decided as consequence, that she should wear a dress to school every day this week. I am excited to see the outcome of this discipline. Many tears will be shed (tears of mirth on my part? Is that horrible?).

It is now 8:05 and I have been up for exactly two hours of a Saturday morning that was specifically bequested to me by my Sweet Boy to sleep in for as long as I want until work. I should be sitting dutifully in on his EMT refresher class this morning, more to spy on him and make sure he's not (or is?) telling stories about me and so I can correct his mistakes. But he generously insisted that I stay in bed and rest as long as possible (I am suspicious about his motives for this). Or at least until he realized he left his keys to get into the church where he is teaching and his jug of poison-tea here at the house. It was a great chance for me to figure out why the dude in the PT Cruiser in front of me was going 20 mph. OH! Turns out even if the tires stop turning the vehicle still moves on a sheet of ice. Crazy. Who knew? I got home from that little sledding trip just in time to ruin a 15 year old's Entire Life by making her turn off the TV that apparently needs to be on every minute of the weekend. Didn't she get the memo about what Saturdays are for?

In spite of all of my complaining, and my being crabby yesterday because I didn't eat the right stuff all day, and in spite of the fact that I seem to be feeling worse and worse all the time, I still have to say I am pretty damn lucky to have the life I have and the petty little white people problems that I have. The fact that my biggest concern is losing a couple of hours of sleep, or paying for extra gas to run forgotten things around town, is pretty amazing considering that there are people out there on this Saturday morning that are facing concerns like: How do I deal with this potentially terminal illness? How do I pay the electric bill to keep the heat on? And even worse things. Some people are riding in the ambulance to the hospital right now, scared that they might not come back out. Some people are trying to process knowing that they have only months to live, and how to do it right. Some people are broken from the weight of the trials and tests that their loved ones put them through. Some people have kids that are wasting their bodies on drugs instead of wasting milk on the table. I can't even imagine some of the horrific things that people all over this town, county, state, country, world are facing this glorious Saturday morning. Yes, I have petty first world problems, and it is almost shameful that I could consider getting stressed about having to make waffles for breakfast. What a silly, silly world I live in. And how thankful I am. We get so lost in our own ridiculous problems, without thinking about the person a few blocks away who is facing the biggest challenge of their life. How much better would I feel if I forgot my pain for a few minutes and tried to alleviate the suffering and stress of someone else for a day. How can I do this? This is the compelling goal that I am trying to replace my shopping urges with. I feel confined in my limitation. I can't run up to Northport to hug my deflated friend, or bounce over to Olympia to spend a long girl day with my buddy who is feeling isolated. I can't provide the remedy or pain relief for a new friend that is impossibly ill. What can I do? I can reach out with some laughs and distractions and just remind them that I am here, and hope they know how desperately I want to be there for them, with them. I feel like it's just not enough. Maybe I need to do a greeting card campaign. Or gift cards. Shopping makes me feel better, so maybe if I send them all gift cards they will be momentarily relieved. Oh, such a shallow, suburban girl I am. This will be my brainstorming topic for awhile. I can't take them dinner, or babysit their kids, or deliver them a six pack of beer. But I will think of something. You just wait. Maybe they need Saturday shirts, with detailed instructions about sleeping in and ignoring forgetful teenagers, nagging pain and any obligations that can be procrastinated without eternal consequences. Yes, maybe I will do that once I am shopping again.

In the meantime, I am going to work on explaining to my children how the frustrations they have with their Very Difficult lives, like not getting to watch TV, or doing chores, or having to wear dresses to school, or not having parents to spectate at all of their events, are pretty small problems in the scheme of things. I know how easy it is to get lost in my own problems, so I can't fault them with the very human tendency, but I can work with them to get all of us to the point that we can move past ourselves and take care of the world around us. This, in my Very Well Informed Opinion, is the great commission. We as humans can only be here to try to make the world more bearable for each other. To leave a smile on the face of anyone we come into contact with, and take a smile away with us.

For now, I am going to put my Saturday shirt on and figure out how to translate it into Business Casual, and help Aspen finish making waffles.

Saturday Shirts -  and their Originator

Comments

  1. I love it Liv. Your ramblings are great. Funny, poignant,thoughtful and very, very human.
    Phil

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