When I was growing up, my mom used to let me take one day off from school per year. It was always a day planned in advance, a day where there were no tests, big reviews, or projects. We’d go shopping, stroll around the mall, have lunch and return home before my brother got off the bus. (He had his own special day, too.)
It was a little vacation from life, a treat, something to re-energize us and give us special quality time. I loved it, but I didn’t really give it much thought until I had my own child two years ago. We lived in Kansas, where the winters occasionally forced these little vacations. The snow would come down in crystals, beautifully and slowly, blanketing the ground in silence. Sometimes, if we were lucky, the sun was shining through the hours of the snowfall and really, what else could we do but stay at home, cozy, watching the snow and playing by the fire? Those days didn’t happen often, but when we re-emerged the next day to go on with our routine, it felt like we’d had a special frozen moment in time that was just for us.
Yesterday, my son woke up with a runny and stuffy nose and grumpy disposition, and after fighting with him for twenty minutes just to get his clothes on and teeth brushed, I decided that we needed to stay home all day. (He’s usually very happy and easy going with our routines.) I canceled our playdate, (which was going to be a super fun fall craft…stay tuned for our re-scheduled one next week!) and we hung out in the house. I made banana muffins, he watched tv and we played with his toys. As the day went on, his cold seemed to subside, but he was still extra whiny and tired. We snuggled together during nap time and he fell asleep within minutes, without even asking for the three stories we usually read.
I thought, waking up this morning, that we may be in for another “sick day.” But when I opened his bedroom door, he was setting up his dinosaurs. “Hey, mommy!” he exclaimed. “Clothes on!”
Alright! My son was back. Happy and ready for the day.
I know he was a little sick yesterday, but I wonder if what he really needed was just some time off from life. A day to do things at his own pace and not have to think about the next step of our day. Today, he’s refreshed, happy and extremely cooperative.
There may have been something to my mom’s “one day a year off” strategy. Sometimes, we all need a day just to breathe, relax, and do the things we want to do on our own schedule.
Have you ever done this with your child? Did your parents let you take a day off every so often?