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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wasting a day...in Italy

As a mom and part-time professional, I often have days filled with endless chores, running the boys around, grocery shopping and all of the other "things" I have to do.  I never quite feel like I have completed my to-do list.  I always feel like I forgot something, slighted someone, said the wrong thing...well, you know.

Sometimes, at the end of a day, when I have wiped down the kitchen counters for what I hope will be the last time, I realize that I never had a chance to sit down and just be.  Have you ever thought, as you listen to the kids arguing over a toy or what they are going to watch on television, "What did I ever do with myself before I had kids?"

I can vaguely remember those days...it seems to me that what I did most of the time back then was make things (like baking a cake from scratch and then perfectly decorating it with a cake decorating kit in a basket-weave pattern I saw in Martha Stewart Living Magazine) or go shopping for clothes at the mall or get my hair done.  Now, I know there must have been more important things that I accomplished in my other life, but I honestly can't remember what I used to do in a day when I didn't work.  I probably read many good books and generally, I think I spent more time on the "maintenance" side of taking care of myself.

I remember that I always seemed to have (what I thought at the time was) good hair, well manicured fingers and pretty clothes.  I certainly had more money to spend on those things.  So, that was all before the boys came along and converted me over to the church of "MOM" where I spend time pitching tents instead of getting a manicure.  Where I pick up 900 dirty socks or scrub the toilet for the fourth time in a week instead of getting my hair done at a nice salon.  Where I wear worn out camouflage pants and tank tops instead of the latest fashions.

Which all leads me back to my point...These days, I never seem to take time to just relax.  I don't sit on my comfy sofa and spend three hours straight reading a great book.  I don't lay out by my pool or go to the beach on a beautiful day.  I am always "doing" something and not having much to show for it at the end of the day if you ask me.  So the other day, I had just finished the morning dishes and put a load of laundry in the washing machine and realized that I didn't know what to do next.  The house needed to be cleaned and I needed to go to the grocery store.  I had four hours before I needed to pick my son up from school and I couldn't figure out which thing to get done.

In a quandary, I sat down on the sofa and looked out the window into my back yard.  It was a beautiful day, so I got up and opened the windows.   I sat back down.  I looked around me on the couch and saw several gun-shaped WII controllers littering the cushions.  I pushed them out of the way and then picked one up and looked at it.  (What the heck is the fascination with shooting games for 10-12 year old boys anyway??)  The boys recently talked me into getting Netflix and they have watched several movies on the WII with it, so I fidgeted with the controller until I got the movie service to come up.  Flipping through the list, I realized that I was actually contemplating sitting there by myself watching a movie when I had chores to do....What was I thinking?????

I did not stop flipping until I got to the section with the foreign movies...ahh, that was it, I needed to get away, just for a little while.  I selected a film called "Bread and Tulips" which, as it turns out, was about an Italian woman (wife, mother) who gets left behind at a rest stop while on a tour with her husband and kids and, long story short, ends up hitch-hiking her way to Venice (because she's never been there before and she feels like she needs a break from her schmuck husband and ungrateful kids...sound familiar yet?) where she stays for what seems like weeks.  Of course, while she is there, she meets a handsome man, gets a job in a flower shop and reignites a long-suppressed love and talent for playing the accordion (yes, I said accordion) all while in the beautiful, romantic setting of Venice, Italy and yes, the movie was in the Italian language and had sub-titles.  MAGNIFICO!!

As I sat there living vicariously through Rosalba's life, I was transported to another country for two whole hours!  While I was there, I baked some sugar cookies and ate three of them with a cup of freshly brewed coffee...Heaven!  After the movie was over, I was so inspired, I wrote an email to a friend I hadn't spoken to in a while...in Italian (using Google translator because I don't know how to speak Italian.)  What a beautiful day it was for me...I think that sometimes, we just need to check out and let ourselves be carried away in a fantasy to Italy.  The trick for afterward though, is not to feel guilty about it....

I would love to say that I did not feel guilty, but who am I trying to kid?  Of course I felt guilty!  When I arrived back from Italy, I had 40 minutes left before I needed to pick my son up, so I quickly decided to clean one of the bathrooms (the boys' bathroom because it always needs it) and fold a load of laundry.  I then quickly called my husband and "confessed" my sin of sloth....sigh...I guess I'll have to work on the guilt thing another day...maybe in Greece next time...

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