Play Before Sunday-Dos

Today is Sunday, and Sunday is getting-ready-for-the-upcoming-week day. For me, this means that all the laundry is done, meals are planned, the house is clean, and so is the kid. Since I work from home, most often some of that work spills over into the weekend, not to mention the projects I’m helping others with or doing on my own time. And add all the errands to run and activities to do, and my Sundays can come up on me like a wrecking ball.

Today it looks like the wrecking ball demolished the house. The puppy has made a monster mess. Dishes are still piled up in the sink. Not one piece of furniture has been dusted, not one floor cleaned. The laundry is just now getting started, and I certainly didn’t get to the grocery, which turns out to be a good thing because I haven’t planned any meals. I look around, wondering where to start; what is most important to salvage the little bit of Sunday I have left? Then Story asks me to play.

Before even thinking about it, I say, with all sincerity, “I’m so sorry, I really can’t today. I have to . . . ” and then go through the never-ending to-do list.

Good kid that she is, she doesn’t press. “Okay, Mom.” And she walks away.

I know I’ve disappointed her. I almost call after her to offer her more computer time, knowing that that will keep her happy and busy. But she has already used up the allotted time, and I would be breaking the rules just to assuage my own guilt.

I start for the kitchen as Story settles down with paper and colored pencils to begin a new book. I can at least start the week off with clean dishes. But before I even run the water, I surprise myself with, “Blast it. Let’s play.”

And we did. We had a vicious competition during our Star Wars game, which I won, thank you very much (she disagrees, silly child). We were on our feet, yelling at each other, then drowning in giggles when one of us made a silly move. During our game, I wasn’t Mom. I was merely a fellow player, battling the same Storm Troopers she was. She treated me like a player, not like her mom. And I felt like a player, not her mom. I have to say, she’s a lot of fun. With her wild imagination and my ridiculous voices, we were a pair that not even the dogs would approach.

I am now gleefully exhausted, and she is one happy kid. Yeah, I’ll have to clean out a coffee cup in the morning, but it was worth it. This dirty house isn’t going anywhere, but tomorrow she will be one day older and one day closer to growing up and leaving home. What’s a couple of hours in that light? Take my advice: next time, just say yes.