Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sick Days and Holidays

I never knew how many days off my kids would have, both planned and unplanned. When I first got pregnant, I naively assumed that I would work in the kids around my schedule, with minor adjustments. Little did I know. In the last three weeks the twins have been home six out of fifteen days. Two of them were holidays, one was a protest day (mine) and the rest they were sick.

At first I'm relieved. They're too sick to go to school. I don't have to get out of bed. I don't have to go anywhere. We can just hang out and be together. Then after two hours of hearing "I'm bored" while I try to answer e-mail, update the website or whatever minor task I've set for myself (because there's no way I can write or make phone calls or edit with all of the interruptions) I give in and play Princess Monopoly. Twice. Then the paints come out. Then the Legos. Then the pillows and blankets. By lunchtime it looks like a tornado swept through my living room leaving it filled with the entire contents of our local Toys R Us. And I realize that I it's time to be "Mommy" with a capital M. There's school work to do. Piano to practice. A valuable lesson in cleaning up after oneself to be learned. All of which takes about an hour. By 2:30 I give in to their pleas to watch TV so I can lie down for a few minutes. By 4:00 they're bored again and I'm watching the clock trying really hard to restrain myself from calling my husband and screaming "COME HOME NOW!"

Planned days off are better, especially when I actually make a plan. On Veteran's Day we went into the Central Park Zoo with some classmates, another Mom and a babysitter. We ate pizza at a local restaurant. We ran up and down the big rocks in Central park and played on the cool rock-like playground attached to it. We ride the subway home tired and satisfied at a day well spent. And I think to myself how wonderful it is to spend time with two terrific seven-year-olds who will throw their arms around me on a whim. I wonder why do I have this need to write, to film, to tell stories? Why can't I be content just to be? Perhaps, I think, I can give it up.

They go back to school. I go back to writing. I write a scene that moves me to tears. And I know that this is something that I have to do. There is no choice. And so, I continue to pursue my dream between sick days and holidays and hope that in both pursuits, I am making the world a slightly better place.