The Weekend

I was very young when I first came to understand the concept of the weekend. My earliest memories were of small town Lomond Alberta. They are limited but I vaguely remember wandering about the town quite a bit, completely unsupervised. When I got up each morning the older kids were already gone as was my Dad. Off to their busy lives. It was just Mom and me and the quiet peaceful house. My siblings all attended the school that was up the street a ways. Could have been a block away. Maybe two. In my mind it was up the street from our house. Sometimes I went there to play on the playground equipment. I had little friends I chummed with. There were adventures. Sometimes I went down to the grain elevator where my Dad worked. Just to say hello. He drove the school bus and sometimes I got to go along for the ride. All sorts of neighbours to visit. The lady who have me popsicles. Another, cookies. All for the cost of the flowers I picked for them. Straight out of their own gardens. It was a magical time of exploring and play. Looking back to the mid 1960`s I often wonder why no one seemed to know where I was. It was a different time. Not safer really. Less paranoid. It was a lovely time. I loved whiling away the weekdays. And then, the weekend would come and the days changed.

Noisy and busy from morning to night. The house was full and stuff was going on. I had four brothers and a sister my Mom gave birth to and another I call brother. He was hanging around the clan long before I came into the world so I don’t remember life without him. He was just another brother. These extra people take up space physically and energetically. They were the coolest. One boy was in elementary school, a full five years older. My sister was in junior high and the love of my life. The others were all older and seemed to be coming and going. It always seemed exciting. Saturday was a flurry of activity but when the evening came there was calm. A bath, clean jammies and cuddles with Mom in the rocking chair as we watched television. The theme song for Hockey Night In Canada would bring me back to that time for years and years. It was such a safe and cozy time. Then came Sunday which was just special. Dressing up and going to church. Sunday school with treats. The whole community together. Then a short walk home. I don’t remember things like a Sunday dinner. I’m sure we ate, obviously but in my mind it was the being together and the closeness. I looked up to the older kids and even if I wasn’t a part of their activities I was close by watching. I felt good.

Within a couple of years it all changed. The older boys moved away and my sister went to a boarding school for grade ten. She was excited but I missed her so. The house was quiet again but I was in school now and the mornings weren’t peaceful and calm. I was now a part of the early hustle and bustle. My life was busy now with school, Brownies and piano lessons. Skating in the evening. Playing after school with the best friend of the day. Evenings were a calm break from the busy day. I missed my siblings but we adjusted to a more peaceful household. The weekends now became a time of rest. No school. No waking up early. Bliss. I love the lazy sleep in to this very day. There were chores I believe although I don’t remember that part of my life much. Sunday was again magical. As a religious family it was truly a day of rest. I could read a book all day. No interruptions. No chores. No one to say I had to put the book down. Just read and played. When the older kids were home it was wonderful. I loved the visits. Again, they were so grown up and cool. I just loved to be around them.

Eventually the family started to expand. I was an Auntie when I was in grade two. By the time I was sixteen there were eight grandkids so weekends with the siblings were crazy busy and loud. I was now the one who took little kids for rides on the motorbike. Slept on the living room floor when someone took over my bedroom. The mornings were chaos when everyone came home as breakfast took hours while people rose from sleep at different times. No sooner was breakfast done than lunch was being prepared. I often took off with friends or a boyfriend for a little break but was always back again for the games and cards that took place in the evening. One fond memory was renting a VCR and movies and the hoopla surrounding hooking up the VCR. A lot of men and a lot of time and the job was completed and twenty some people spread throughout Mom and Dads living room. By this time I was the only child living at home. Company would leave and it was a little sad and lonely. Now as a Grandmother myself I umderstand my parents feelings those nights. They were glad everyone was gone. They could now relax. Put their feet up. Let out that long sigh…

In those days weekends were for friends and partying. Sleepovers. Going to movies, concerts. Friday was the best. School is over and you race home. Every other day I hung out until five o:clock. That was when Dad came home for supper. Friday was the day I would make plans to go out with friends. I needed to get home to help Mom with some chores so when I asked to go out she was softened up and would say yes. Saturday was usually an early rise but a lovely leisurely breakfast with my Mom and Dad. Then I would help my Mom with her house cleaning. In the spring and fall she loved to spend every spare moment in her garden. If I worked in the house she was grateful and let me do whatever I wanted in the evenings. She often convinced Dad when he grilled me too much about my plans. It was a very good relationship. I helped without nagging and she gave me freedom. And yet Sunday was still the day of doing nothing. Church of course but the same feeling of leisure without guilt.. Walks, reading, sleeping. No matter the activity it was always peaceful.

Married years brought University, work, kids and no money. Friday was relax and have some wine, watch a movie and chill out. Saturdays were kids and sports and run around here there and everywhere. Those I was going to Mom and Dads some weekends just like the big kids. Through it all there was this incredible feeling when Friday came. The weekend had endless possibilities. No plans. No one telling you what to do. Just uplifting. The years of raising kids brought more chaos to life even on the weekend but it was good chaos. Drop a kid at the pool or rink or gymnastics. Buy coffee and pull out a book. Even if they were busy I had a break. We put on a lot of miles in the child raising years. Kids are busy. Eventually they all get a drivers licence and peace reigns. The weekend is yours again. Saturday as an adult is still the “cleaning day” left over from our youth. I always thought when my kids left home I would have this amazing organized house. Always clean and ship shape. Looking around I realize it wasn’t them The place doesn’t look much better than when they lived here. Turns out it was me all along. Sunday is still my do nothing day. Read. Sleep. Relax. Wear pajamas all day. Since I am retired, technically I can do that everyday. The difference is that on Sunday I feel good about it. There is no guilt. No thoughts that I need to get something done. It is a feeling that is burned into my psyche from the day I was born.

Now as a getting older lady, living alone, with nothing but time on my hands, I find my weekends fill up faster than they ever did in my youth. With kids and eight grandbabies there is a lot of life to live. Friends from way back and not so far back are out in full force. I rest during the week now but when Friday approaches I still get a thrill. It’s the weekend. The best part of being alive. I’ve learned that joy in life is all about anticipation. Looking forward to something. Anything. I am so lucky I get to do that every week.

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