Derek recently asked me what I would do if he took the kids out and about to have fun and I had a whole day to myself.
First, I told him, I'd faint. I wouldn't believe it was true. I would watch them pulling out of the driveway in the minivan to go to oh, I don't know, the zoo followed by the park followed by a movie followed by ice cream followed by bowling and putt putt golf...and upon contemplating the wild and often fantasized about complete freedom that the next 12 hours seemed to unbelievably promise, I'd probably pass out from the weight, the sheer volume of all that glorious time to myself. Untold riches to a stay at home mom who is currently in rare form by homeschooling.
When I came to, lying sideways on the driveway with my arm asleep and pinned backwards under my body, drooling, with a slight sunburn on my right cheek and an ant crawling up my forehead I'd immediately check my watch in order to assess how much time I had left.
Then I'd go back to bed. I'd sleep and sleep and sleep, neverminding all the laundry that was whining in the baskets or the dishes that were dying to be put away. I would sleep the way I did when I was 15.
After awhile, I'd wake up and eat the rest of the Ben & Jerry's Mud Pie ice cream I'd stashed behind the frozen corn the night before when I got home from the grocery store (and then ate half of it and watched "The Real Housewives of New York" while Derek took a shower, switching it back to the news when he walked back in the room). I think I'd eat it in bed. For breakfast. Then, after yawning and stretching really loudly and maybe doing a downward dog or two, I'd take a really long, indulgently steamy shower and I'd shave my legs and exfoliate my skin. I'd stay in there, writing my name in the condensation on the shower door, like I used to before I was a mom and took speed showers while yelling threats about not choking your sister out the door. I'd write my name in big, looping cursive letters -J-i-l-l-i-a-n- and I'd finish it off with a little flower. Then I might write some other things, or play M.A.S.H., or try my hand at calligraphy. Finally, when all the hot water was gone, I'd get out. I'd stay in a towel for at least an hour and a half, doing a clay mask on my face and painting my toenails with two coats and a topcoat, plucking my eyebrows to unparalleled perfection and even trying out some different facial expressions to impress the checkout clerk at the grocery store the next time she said she couldn't take my coupon. I'd pretend talking to her in all sorts of voices, finally deciding on a really lofty stare, my voice dripping with the condescension that would surely make her quiver in terror while she subtracted one more dollar from my grocery bill.
I'd get dressed in another pair of pajamas, leave all my dirty clothes and wet towel on the bathroom floor, ignore my unmade bed, mosey on into the kitchen and have some coffee with Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream in it, instead of half n half.
Then I'd watch the news. And a quilting show. And a cooking show. And an extra long special on the history channel about the history of medicine and it's contributions to overpopulation. I'd watch some ridiculously liberal political talk show and argue belligerently with the television, putting them all in their place. Then I'd check out the sci-fi channel and watch the latest movie, "Centurion Centipedes" before finally switching to HGTV and leaving it there, yes, leaving the television on, all day while I was in other rooms.
I'd go outside and water my vegetable garden and pick a few weeds. I'd stop and contemplate the way the wind was rushing through the leaves on the trees and I'd run inside for my journal and spend an hour lounging on the trampoline and writing a poem about it.
I'd come back in and play with my fabrics, working out a brightly contrasting palette for a new throw quilt. I'd piece it together with my sewing machine and play Cindy Lauper or Celine Dion or Amy Grant or Taylor Swift on the CD player as loud as it would go.
Then I would change and go for a really long run beside the river, taking my time stretching and warming up, jogging slowly underneath the trees, nodding politely at approaching runners and pedestrians, breathing deeply of the sunny afternoon air. I'd run 6 miles, just to see if I could. When I was finished I'd sit by the river for awhile and watch people and dogs and birds, thinking of ideas for a good novel, daydreaming about international travel.
Back at home, while taking another long and luxurious shower, I'd sing the National Anthem as an opening for the World Series. I'd sing it a few times in different keys, just so I could get it right. After I got out I'd put some more pajamas on.
And then I'd read. I'd start a new book and I'd read all afternoon and into the evening. I'd read on the couch and in bed and in the chair out on the patio. I'd read on the futon and in a bubble bath. I'd read until the sun started to set. Then I would go outside and sit in the backyard on a soft blanket and I'd watch the sun go down. All by myself. I'd listen to the crickets as they began their nightly disco, I'd watch the tiny bats come out and fly around in the dusky air, I'd contemplate building a pergola onto the back of the house and extending my garden a couple feet more, I'd pick long pieces of grass and braid them, I'd examine my fingers for signs of old age, I'd hum the Moonlight Sonata, and watch as the sun and moon high fived each other and traded shifts.
I'd go inside and then, in the pause between commercials on HGTV and Love Songs with Delilah on 92.9, I'd hear the minivan drive up in the driveway.
I'd sigh over a day so rarely and well spent, I'd smile because they were home, and I'd jump up and run out to kiss Derek and tuck my babies into bed, realizing that the whole day I never even said one word.
That's what I'd do.