Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - April 15, 2004
I love weekend mornings at home - the ones where I don't have any appointments to go to or obligations to meet. No alarm jars me awake. The sunlight filtering in through the window blinds awakens me naturally. I stretch. I roll over. I might go back to sleep. Ah, this is the life.
When I get out of bed, I move slowly from one activity to the next. I do what I want to do when I want to do it. I might water my houseplants, do the laundry, straighten the living room or arrange tulips in a vase. Or, I might mow the lawn, go through my photo albums, make a nice family meal, get caught up on correspondence or read.
What I don't do is move at a frantic pace or feel that I have to cross anything off some list.
My Dad called it "puttering," but other words work as well - frittering away the time or "futzing," as my mother-in-law says. When someone asks me what I did that day, I can't really come up with anything particular that I accomplished, but I feel good. Puttering and dawdling have received a bad rap in our tons-of-things-to-do, organize-your-life, put-it-on-the-calendar society.
It used to be that most of my weekends felt relaxing. The work week was the time to get things done and the weekends were down time. Now the feeling that it's okay to let life's natural rhythms move me along doesn't come too often. I get so wound up in doing that I don't find time to just "be."
Katie brought this home to me last Friday. She had the day off from school and she spent it with Mom - reading, watching television, playing chess and talking.
When Katie and I talked later, she mentioned how she and her grandma had watched a "Dr. Phil" program about mothers who are so busy that every waking moment for themselves and their children is on a calendar. They were so scheduled that they only had two days a year that they called "PJ days" - days they could spend at home doing whatever they wanted. One mother with three children complained of having migraines and her 10-year-old boy was beginning to suffer from them, too.
I used to have a desk calendar called "For Women Who Do Too Much." Each day had a quote that reminded me of the wisdom of finding time to putter. I saved some pages from it to refer to when life seems to get too hectic.
"Profound pauses cannot happen unless I pause," one page said.
"So you see, imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering," Brenda Ueland said on another.
"Puttering is really a time to be alone, to dream and to get in touch with yourself . . . To putter is to discover," Alexandra Stoddard said on yet another page.
Katie and her older sister really enjoy unstructured time and they make it a priority in their busy weeks.
"Man, Mom, I have PJ days at least twice a month - maybe more," Katie said.
From the mouth of babes!