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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 2 ~ September 16, 2008
~ They're All in School . . . So Where are my Bon Bons?

Peace at the BeachI can't tell you how many times I've been asked how my free time is going (this being the second full week that all of my kids are in school!). Whatever am I doing now that I have the house to myself for the first time in 15 years and don't I feel well rested and peaceful?

Honestly, I thought these people were kidding. Most of them have kids themselves so I began worrying that something might be terribly wrong with me seeing that now that they are all in school, I am busier than I was when they were home all summer long! What gives?

For starters, Annie, my soon to be 3-year old, attends nursery school for three 1/2 days a week. By the time I drive her there, drop her off and go back to pick her up again, I have two hours to call my own for these three days so I'm not quite in the leisurely stages of school days and motherhood just yet. And then there's this thing called guilt! Kind of like when we had our first baby and she would be sleeping--"sleep when the baby sleeps" I was told. That incentive didn't work then and 15 years later it's not working now. When I have this 2-hour block of time, I have found myself juggling twice the errands, speed cleaning the house, catching up on e-mails and my writing obligations and even making appointments for such overdue tasks like getting my teeth cleaned and having my eyes examined. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I haven't sat still for a second in the two weeks school has begun, and I'm beginning to think I'm going to regret it if I don't change gears soon.

So guess what I'm doing today? I still can't believe it myself, but as soon as I drop Annie off at school this afternoon I am heading straight to the beach, with a BRAND NEW BOOK, that I bought for myself yesterday! It gets better, too. Not only do I plan on actually sitting in my beach chair (the one I bring to the beach all summer long and one of my kids ends up sitting in) but I have packed myself a picnic lunch (which is now hidden safely in our extra fridge in the garage-I've become quite clever at disguising any type of treats that I want to hide such as placing a bag of Hershey's kisses in an empty frozen spinach box!) and in that lunch is a box of chocolate covered raisins--the closest thing to bon bons I have on hand!

I have been daydreaming about this moment for years now, and like most of my daydreams, once the actual event itself takes place, it either exceeds my expectations or I realize the daydream itself was better than the event! The weather here in Rhode Island is perfect for an early Autumn beach day! The temps are in the low 70s, the sky is crystal clear and there is a very soft breeze blowing. Now, when I get to the beach, that could all change . . . the clouds may roll in and this lovely breeze we have this morning might be whipping sand in my face, but I am going for the "experience," having a couple of peaceful hours to call my own, and if the weather cooperates, then it's an added bonus!

All of my kid's have Open Houses at their schools in the next two weeks, soccer has started, and our CCD classes at church began this past weekend where I am a Second Grade teacher, so that signals to me that summer is definitely over. The faster pace of fall is upon us and before it gets a grip on me, I'm going to make sure I get to the beach, alone this afternoon so I can enjoy my picnic lunch and the next time someone asks me what I've been doing with my free time I can most definitely proclaim-"I'm sitting back and eating bon bons! (Ok, so it's chocolate covered raisins . . . just a technicality!)"

This Friday (September 19th) Brian and I will celebrate our 21st Anniversary! Today while I'm beaching it I'm going to give some thought to coming up with something special for him. All 8 of our brood will be home that evening, so I'll have to really put my thinking cap on!

Until next time, I hope everyone is having a great week and if not, try some bon bons--there must be something to that since we've been hearing that cliché for years!

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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