It used to be that when I would see one of those rare blank days on the calendar I would think, "Yahoo! Finally, a “free day”! I would be so excited to have a day to schedule play dates, catch up on errands, and get my visiting teaching done! But then my free day wasn't free anymore. It was one more day full of obligations and responsibilities. When my kids started to complain about our constant running around, I realized we were seriously over-scheduled. Now we have real free days. At least once a month we set aside a day that is completely free of all obligations. No schoolwork, no extra housework, no planned activities. I have to circle the day on my calendar at least two weeks in advance, and then we all have to jealously guard it to protect it from scheduling. It can be hard to tell friends and family that we aren't available that day, even though there is nothing on the calendar. However, we have decided to make this time a priority, and it is so worth it!
Every day last week my kids asked me how many days were left until free day. They were looking forward to it like a holiday! Recently, I realized how important this free time is to them. Their best friends called to see if they could play on our scheduled free day. They all told me they’d rather wait and play another time—they wanted their free day!
I am a real planner so it makes me a little crazy to see that blank day looming, but we have made a rule that we can’t plan any activities before the morning of. This may seem a little excessive, but as soon as something is planned the freedom is lost. So we wait and anticipate our day off. When it dawns, it is wonderful to wake up and have nothing to do!
Last Friday for free day we headed to the library. When we came out it was sunny and warm. Knowing these beautiful autumn days are limited we decided to pick up some bread and fruit at a local produce stand and head to the park for a picnic. We had the whole place to ourselves and it was so peaceful! Later that afternoon, we decided we really better make the most of the weather, so we headed to the pumpkin patch. The boys had a great time with the pumpkin launch, we got lost for plenty long enough in the corn maze, and they all had a great time digging in the corn bin (kind of like a sand box only filled with corn kernels). It ended up being a pretty busy free day but it was a wonderful break from our regular routine.
The thing I love most about free days is the excitement of just seeing where the day will take us. One free day in the summer we decided to go berry picking. On the way we saw a garage sale sign, so we starting rambling through neighborhoods searching for good deals. We were having so much fun bargain hunting we decided to hit a few thrift stores too. Free days are an adventure just waiting to happen! They are a wonderful vacation and leave us feeling refreshed and far more capable of starting back into another crazy week!
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