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Slowing down

October 28, 2009

Graysen and Quinn roll and dodge Hot Wheels on a nothing sort of Saturday.

Saturday became our nothing day.

Earlier in the week we made plans for a Saturday explore with my mom and some friends in the Rio Puerco, an amazing place west of Bernalillo, NM, where one can examine a fossil bed, see an old abandoned hotel from the 1800s, and marvel at an Anasazi site with amazing views of the sweeping desert.

Rio Puerco is a place where time almost stands still.

Time has been moving far too quickly over and through us. Life has left us breathless, and I’ve been more non compos mentis lately than I care to admit. A daytrip seemed like the perfect antidote to chaos.

{Insert intermission here…Graysen, freshly bathed, started bouncing off the walls while I was writing this post, and threatened the sanctified quiet space of older-sibling-homework-completion.}

But when fever struck Thursday night, I made the reluctant decision to cancel all plans for Saturday. I decided we would do….nothing.

When I got up that morning, I smiled knowing that I didn’t have to get dressed if I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to.

There was a time when we’d go out of our way to avoid nothing days. I’d start to get edgy toward the end of the week. Start musing about how to finesse the unstructured time looming around the bend. On days when we didn’t make plans–didn’t do anything but hang out unwashed in our jammies–the kids would start going stir crazy. Bit by bit their important little worlds would unravel, and they’d develop raging cabin fever…sometimes even before noon. This invariably would put all of us in a foul mood, and make me want to slap myself (and them). I’d always end those days with a stern note to self and anyone else within earshot: WE NEED A PLAN!

But…Saturday was a designated nothing day and that was it. End of story. I told the kids as much and explained that it would be a day of rest, relaxation, and, most importantly, a concerted effort (through much tea and Emergen-C) to fend off whatever dreaded form of flu was threatening. (Flash forward: the fever was actually a precursor to a case of croup, which struck Monday at 3 am. More on that later…)

It was a success, the armload of preemptory rented DVDs notwithstanding.

The only challenge that cropped up was a short-lived upset when Chiara remembered that her school Halloween Carnival was that day. I told her we’d go next year, and held firm. Shortly after that, she asserted that she was so bored she might die. She might. Really. Die.

But. She. Lived. Shocking us all.

And the sadness ebbed. The boredom morphed into something else. And I took a nap.

Along about 5:30, our friend, Meribeth, stopped by with a bag of leftover dog food for our slightly pudgy lab, Sweetpea. Her beloved old dog, Isis, recently passed away, and their new puppy has no need for Healthy Weight Beneful.

Along with the dog food, Meribeth brought her three-year-old, Quinn, the famous sleep-smiling-on-the-boob baby, and Graysen’s buddy. The first time Quinn visited us past infancy, a few months back, Graysen gave him a gentle tour of the house with a guiding hand on his shoulder.

“This is my kitchen,” I heard him say as Meribeth and I chatted in the living room, “and this is my oven…and this is where we keep my ice cream scooper…” He rifled through the cooking utensils, holding up his favorites, like the ice cream scooper and the knife sharpener, reverently.

Graysen will someday be a “cooker guy.”

But on Saturday, there was no need for a grand and benevolent tour of his digs. Rather, much noisy fun was had with many Hot Wheels and our long (to short people like Gray and Quinn) hallway.

The cars rolled, at first, then started zooming into the living room on their sides, their backs. Chris joined in the chaotic automotive fun and then I, of course, had to get the camera out.

Our nothing day became an everything day…everything we needed all rolled into about 10 hours. A movie. A nap. Another movie. A visit with friends. A Hot Wheel, or 10. And…no further sign of flu.


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