I soak it in. Every last second of freedom, literally marking the moments of lovely in my mind so as to not let even one slip by me unaware. Just this morning, I slept until after 8am, made a cup of coffee with plenty of cream, looked at the ocean, did some reading and it is now 9am. I have yet to talk to another human, not even my four children who have learned to relish the calm before the storm and my youngest still cozy in his bed.
For us, the storm is the school year and no matter how we shirk our activities or schedule very little, the back to school concept fills me with more than a little dread. It's not school itself, my children truthfully relish the time with their peers, awesome teachers, days filled with work and though they may not readily admit, school is still fun. What's not to like about it, I ask myself. Three of my four busy and happy for nearly eight hours a day and me left with gobs of time.
The trouble is, the gobs of time never arrive. The storm brings with it timelines, deadlines, mandatory activities and duties that are required for survival like lunch making and grocery shopping. A box of pop tarts doesn't seem like the same perfectly fine choice when it is to fuel a day of learning vs. a day of water bobbing and sandcastle building.
In my early days of parenting, I tried to prepare for the impending potential disaster and you know what I learned? Not one thing. Not one wonderful benefit that I can reach back and recall with exaction. Nope, I think back and wonder how much time was wasted in preparation to only miss some of the very best moments of life. The calm before is magnificent but not if we allow it to rush by unaware.
And so, today, I sit. I am soaking in the last few days of life without an alarm, drinking hot cups of coffee and soaking in the minutes of freedom, likely until Thanksgiving. I will remember then, no matter how much to do, that being still is a gift that should be embraced. Next week I will become the annoyed mother, tired, sarcastic, fretful and overwhelmed but today I will breathe in the calm that will suffice for my survival of the coming school year. I will show up rested and ready to conquer. The calm before the storm will never catch me unaware again; it is just too magnificent.