June long weekend, in celebration of some figurehead monarch across the seas (will Queen Liz II soon be 100? who will send her a card?), has snuck up behind me and slapped me hard on the back of the head with the realisation that our family has a decidedly blank three days ahead of us.
This is not usual for us. Usually we are planning and plotting every nanosecond of time together, desperately trying to fill it with stuff that contains some semblance of these elements: coffee, fun, scrambled eggs, chip packets with footy cards inside, friends, somewhere new, books, giggles, weekend newspapers, music, fresh air, swings, grass, pastries, ducks, sunshine, colouring pencils, learning – probably in that order.
But we have nothing planned. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Was it forgetfulness? Was it the ultra-busyness of the madness that was May? Was it because we still, after four months back in Australia, have not managed to set our feet on the ground, and most of our energy is still being spent holding onto our spinning heads?
I personally think it’s because we need to stop. To sit and listen. To slow down and recalibrate. And clean out the garage. We need to open books. Stare out the window from the snuggle of a chocolate brown throw rug. Cook things with cheese on them. Watch Pixar movies to the smell of the iron on sheets. Bake. Put seedlings into pots and marvel and say “my how much you’ve grown”. Play games – the old fashioned ones. Talk.
So, I think we are going to have a Slow Long Weekend.
All families need this sometimes. Life is on fast-forward, streamed across the internet and twittered to every branch in the tree. Every weekday, when my kids get home at 3.30pm, they have to drag me from the computer where I have petrified into the sitting position. It takes me four minutes just to focus my eyes on their darling faces. Then it’s homework, footy on the lawn, Wii, dinner, tidying the house, readying cosy beds, a spot of tele. There’s not much time to be slow.
I know you can all relate.
But how we desperately need some slow. How my kids need to sleep in and stay in their jarmies till three. How our house needs to sigh into our hair, sitting quietly on the tops of our motionless heads.
Maybe this Slow Long Weekend will gather pace as it unfolds, who knows? – but for now, I’m loving having an empty BlackBerry. A blank calendar page. Not a thing to do, place to see, person to meet. I love the idea of being free to drive to Yass for coffee, to swirl up to a Canberra lookout in the car and take pictures of the sunset, to bake eight different cookies and stuff them till we pop.
I also have an ulterior motive for having a Slow Long Weekend. It’s not about me – although I could use the break. It’s about my kids. Sometimes I look at them and their lives awash with hurry and now now now and I worry that they’ll lose the ability to just Be. To live in the now. To savour the moment.
Isn’t life all about savouring moments? How many of us do that any more? Well, this weekend, we are going to stop and savour. And talk about the flavor.
What are your plans for the long weekend?
Tania McCartney is an author, editor and a regular contributor to Australian Women Online. For more information about Tania visit her website www.taniamccartney.com