Friday, December 2, 2011

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate. ~ Henry David Thoreau

I've had a luxury lately of something I never seem to have enough of.

For the past 5 1/2 years I have been providing full time day care for my grandsons.  While we were living in Portland my days usually started around 5:30 in the morning and ended around 5 pm.  My son and daughter-in-law lived in Vancouver, Washington, and for those of you who live out of that region you can't even begin to understand the nightmarish quality of their daily commute.  Many people who live in Vancouver work in Portland.  There are two bridges that service the traffic crossing over the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver.  One is the I-5 bridge that carries all of the interstate traffic from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.  Hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross that bridge every day.  The I-205 bridge was built when the eastern area of Vancouver was mostly fields and farms but in the 30-odd years since it opened to traffic the population there has exploded.  So has the traffic volume.  And that is the bridge my kids had to cross every day.  The morning commute wasn't quite so bad because they both started work earlier than most people but the evening commute...oh my.  Sometimes, especially in bad weather or if there was an accident tying up the traffic, they wouldn't get home until 6:30 or 7 at nite.  By that time they'd have time to eat dinner and crawl in bed exhausted, only to get up and do it all again the next day.  To say the family lived in their vehicle would not be an understatement.  Family time?  For them?  For all of us to get together?  Fuhgeddaboutit!

Some days here in Michigan are long, too, but not nearly as often.  My days start at 6:30 and generally end a little after 4.  The past few weeks my daughter-in-law's mother has been visiting from Texas and while she's here she's been taking care of the boys.  She may go home next week, she may wait until after Christmas.  She hasn't decided yet.  But this affords me a chance to have a bit of a hiatus.  I sleep in a little later, stay up a little later.  I can come and go as I please.  I can read a book uninterrupted.  Listen to music.  Never turn on the TV.  If it's beautiful...and it is most of the time...I can throw on my boots and a coat and head out for a walk.  I can go to the library.  Browse thru thrift stores.  Have breakfast with a friend.  Simple pleasures.  And it has refreshed me and rejuvenated me.

But I'm ready to have the boys back, too.

I feel like part of me is missing.


Suburbia said...

I reckon you deserve that rest Kris and your family are lucky to have you

Margaret said...

Relaxation and time for yourself are very important, but so is feeling useful and routine. My brother commutes from Spanaway to Redmond--Seattle traffic, is it worse than Portland? I live about 7 minutes away from where I work over surface roads. My major hassle is getting behind a school bus. I'm spoiled!