When it comes to being a mother and working a full-time job, I can’t say I have a lot of time alone. By the time I get off work, get home, cook dinner and help with homework, I’m ready to collapse. Weekends aren’t much better either because they’re chock full of soccer tournaments (three hours away) and gymnastics meets. Despite my husband’s best efforts to help with the responsibility, his work is even more strenuous than mine. The extra time we do get, that doesn’t involve the kids, is often spent together.
It was a beautiful spring Saturday and things just suddenly seemed to line up. Both my son and daughter were staying at a friend’s house, my husband was out of town and I was off work. For the first time in a long time, the house was quiet with only the laughing track on a TV sitcom to accompany me.
During the morning, I pondered what I was going to do with my alone time. Although sitting inside and binge-watching some TV did sound appealing, the weather outside was beautiful and it felt wasteful not to enjoy it. However, I didn’t have to ponder long. It only took one look at my barren flower beds to realize I’d neglected something else other than having my own personal time.
I have to admit, I’m not much of a gardener. I’ve always wanted to be, but managing a large garden on top of other household responsibilities was tough. Months ago, my husband made and mulched a few flower beds along the side of the house for me to plant things in. I’d never gotten around to it, but that was about to change. Today was about doing all the things I wish I had done but never had, and planting flowers definitely made the list.
After driving down to the little greenhouse a few miles down the road, I decided on a few different types: Irises and Calla Lilly flowers. Against the noon sun, the freshly planted white and purple bulbs seemed to shine and I felt accomplished and proud of what I’d done.
I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do next. I’d been chatting with the man at the greenhouse, an elderly gentleman who was eager to share about his own recent relaxing weekend that he spent kayaking on the ocean with his wife. He suggested I do the same, and although my first thought was that it would be a hassle, I began to change my mind on the way home. I’d kayaked before while I was in college, and I still remembered what it entailed. Besides, being on the ocean would certainly not be a bad way to spend the rest of my day.
Getting the kayak to take out on the water was easier than I thought. The kayak rental San Diego was easy to deal with and got me in and out in a flash. Before I knew it, I was on the ocean, oar clutched in my hands and the lapping of the water against the kayak soothing me.
I hardly even realized it, but I spent hours out there, just paddling away. I had a lot of time to decompress and think about things without the stress of hearing things like “When do I need to be home?” or “Do I need to pick someone up?” or “Do I need to make dinner?”. It was absolutely therapeutic.
The next day, things began to get back to normal. I picked my kids up from their friend’s place, my husband returned that night and I made dinner. The difference, however, was that this time, I wasn’t exhausted or worried. My day kayaking and planting the flowers had worked magic. Instead, I merely looked at my family as we sat down to dinner with a contented smile on my face.