Here I am at another Friday with the weekend ahead of me. For most of my life I looked forward to Friday because it meant the weekend would finally arrive. (I am sure I was not alone in that anticipation.)
Weekends beckoned me because I didn’t need to go to work. I could sleep late or get up early. I felt like I was free to do what I wanted to do, but that thinking ended up being somewhat flawed.
While I was working, I often had a great deal to do on the weekends. The house needed my attention and laundry really needed to get totally caught up. Sports and other activities did not cease while our children were still living at home. Lawn work during nearly any season was waiting as well and for one eight year period of my life, I worked on Saturdays until early afternoon. Simply put: there were plenty of chores and tasks waiting for me on weekends.
Even with all that, I looked forward to weekends. I think it felt like I had more choices of how my time flowed even if there were things for me to do. I could skip makeup, not worry about my hair, wear whatever I felt like wearing, and not be a prisoner to the rhythm of my workday.
I am not sure when I started valuing weekend days above other days, but it probably started when I went to school and could escape the classroom on weekends. There it is again…a feeling of freedom with no imperative hanging over my head.
As I was growing up, my mother did not work outside the home and yet I recall well how she had very strictly structured her weekdays. She always did laundry on Monday. It would take more of her day than it takes me because she was using a ringer washer and two washtubs for rinsing, not to mention lugging clothes baskets full of heavy wet clothes to be clipped to the clothesline outdoors. By later in the afternoon if the weather was cooperating, she would make trips back and forth to the clotheslines collecting and folding the clothes.
Tuesdays would be the day she would focus on ironing. Ironing? Yes, and a lot of it! This was before permanent press. My mother would iron everything, sheets and pillowcases included. (Those nice straight cloth items were the things I got to try as I was trained to iron by about the sixth grade.)
Regretfully, I can’t recall the schedule for Wednesday, but I know it included working on music for the children’s choir that she directed for nearly 25 years and met on Wednesday evenings. Thursdays are in a fog for me as well, but Friday would be her grocery day that meant a trip to the A & P in the beginning. Additionally, she would be doing some of the housecleaning that was not the normal routine things.
Saturdays were busy. They included vacuuming and dusting and baking (always pies and cookies). My mother would be counting on the baking to help out with lunches and desserts for the weekend and into the week ahead. The kitchen smelled fabulous! She was training me through those times as well.
My first household task was dusting all the furniture. I started before I started school using a tissue to follow along after my mother as she went from room to room. In the kitchen I was starting to learn to stir up cookies and make sure they came out of the oven with just the right color of brown.
Sundays focused on church both in the morning and evening with an afternoon nap between the two services.
So, why did I enjoy weekends back then when they also would include working on homework and piano or saxophone practice during different childhood seasons?
I enjoyed the weekends even back then when no free time seemed to be included because I was spending time with the most significant people in my life.
I was also learning to feel like I could contribute to our family life. I was learning that being a part of a family was not only a privilege, but it also brought with it responsibility. I was learning skills I would need and use throughout my lifetime. What I gained in a sense of being a contributor to our family while still a child was invaluable.
I have never operated with the rhythm of my mother’s stricter weekly schedule. (Did I also tell you she got up at 5AM each day to help my dad milk our dairy cattle? She did so in the evening as well.)
Once that time in my life had ended, I still had a certain rhythm to my week, but as I grew older I discovered my favorite day of the week.
My favorite day of the week was and is any day of the week that I am spending time with those I most love, cherishing the time no matter what I am doing, no matter what season of life.
Not everyone gets that privilege and the time with some will not always be there.
What’s my favorite day?
Any day I am loving or being loved.