Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More "Play", fewer "Dates"

After 2 weeks of having my children at home over the Winter Break, in which I spent countless hours and I-don’t-even-want-to-count-how-much money keeping my kids entertained, enriched, and enlightened, I received a panicky phone call from school asking me to pick all the kids up NOW due to a water main break.

And so they’re back. Home. With me.

Except this time, they are not alone- I brought 5 elementary school refugees home with me, too. That’s 8 kids for those of us counting, which I have to do every few minutes now. There- I’m back- all accounted for.

8 kids, no car big enough to take them anywhere, 1 parent, and no plan.

And kids having the time of their lives-and it’s only costing me a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies.

This emergency-induced kid party has served as an instant reminder for all of us: Plans cost money and energy, but just being available for friends can be better- and free.

So many of us (myself included) schedule our entire weeks according to “up” and “down” time: “up time” being scheduled events, including social events a Play Dates, and “down time”, which is usually solitary recovery from all of the “up time.”

And because planned social events are PLANNED and EVENTS, there’s pressure to BE something. And that drains us, no matter how much we like the people we are with.

But spontaneously opening our doors to a friend? That’s worth clearing our calendars for. Let’s all plan to have fewer plans this year. Don’t worry- someone will knock on our door, and we’ll have something to do, though have less to prove.


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