It’s Saturday morning, 7:00 am. The alarm clock beeps loudly over our sound machine’s ‘ocean’ selection. Neither Husband or I move. I hit the snooze button. It can’t possibly be another school day? I’m soooo tired and discombobulated. I slowly start to remember the night before. Margaritas. They were so good! Uh-oh. The head is not so good. Pillow now on top of head. But heaven sent the next thought; it’s not my turn. I kick Husband. It’s his turn. It’s Saturday and he’s on.
Whether in London or in LA we decided early on that we would devote Saturdays to the boys’ various sporting games, leaving Sundays to family time. Currently it’s basketball x 2, gymnastics and The School of Rock – which technically isn’t a sport but requires enough taxi driving from us that it qualifies. Oh, and then there’s the Bar Mitzvah season. Fabulous venues stretching the length of this vast city for my thirteen year old son to go party at, I mean get religious at, and all worthy of the extra effort involved to get him to and fro – even without carpools.
Every Saturday is different in timings but the same in intention. Husband does round one and I get to sleep in. He then comes home, cooks a massive breakfast and collapses back into bed as I, now fully caffeinated up, do round two. Considering the numbers, I’m usually snack mom every other week. In LA snacks are divided into two camps; those that shop at Whole Foods and buy organic juice with no added sugar in it, oat bars, clementines and chewy fruity snacks with…no added sugar, and others who buy Gatorade, Doritos chips and Oreo cookies. My kids love the latter and I usually am the former with a hint of something nasty. In London it’s actually the same thing, minus the Whole Foods shopping bag and the Organic label.
We all reconvene in the afternoon and at this point the dog desperately searches for someone to walk her. TV is allowed on the weekends so the boys fall prey to ICarly or Lord of the whatever, as I debate the never ending struggle of ‘shall I walk the dog or have a nap?’ I give myself a weekend pass to skip my work out, so it doesn’t bother me when Husband comes home feeling ridiculously fabulous from a one mile swim followed by sweaty yoga. I opt to watch the sunset most Saturdays and therefore force my boys to come with me. Not bribe, just stare at them longingly, for long enough, that they take pity on me and come with. And the dog. Yes, she finally gets her walk.
Traditionally it’s a take-away at this point, usually Chinese, and a movie. Sometimes if I’m feeling particularly risque I’ll invite another family around. Husband hates socializing on the weekends and so it turns into an MI5 operation getting the family through the door without the appearance of a plan. Why I’ve been cleaning up the house the whole bloody day can be perceived, if persuaded enough, as simply a loving gesture towards him. And then the door bell rings and wow, what a lovely surprise!
Sundays are more sacred. We all sleep in. Well, the little one still gets up with the sun but it’s worth his life to stay quiet. No one really interferes with me until I’ve had my first coffee. I’m obsessed with good coffee and make my own cappuccinos most mornings. However there are times I’ll go to my local Peet’s on Main Street. “Hey man, what can I getcha? Awesome glasses.” The barrista is cooler than cool and the other customers look as though they rode in on a wave to get there. Ray-bans still covering most of my face, I love the way my life suddenly feels like a slow motion beach movie and I’m a surf chick starring in it.
Homework is next. Husband demands the boys to read beyond what’s being asked and I tie up all the loose ends. It’s usually noon before we succeed. Then, the real Sunday shows its face. The timelessness we all need; day-dreaming, contemplating and newspapers. The day ends with water. Whether it’s the Thames River in London or the Pacific here, we have a walk and a talk for the first time all week. We sort out most things and plan for the week ahead. The kids are careless and the dog endlessly circles around them like a protection ritual, going from one to another, and then back to the outer circle.
Dinner follows. The all important English Sunday lunch is replaced with California Pizza King or the buffet at Hillcrest Country Club. But the idea is the same. Cousins and chaos. Silly time with no other agenda other than to feed the masses with tasty food and have a few laughs.
Everyone feels vulnerable on Sunday nights. Growing up my mom hated Sundays for that reason and I know many people who are the same. I get insular and quiet in the night and the boys get more needy. It’s a strange phenomenon, this shift of mood, but it does seem global. The beginning of something special, or not, important, or not, disastrous, or not. That is why the decompression at the end of one week before the next is essential, and Sundays are the culmination of all of that thought. Bed early, with Seinfeld on and the kids snoring before 9:30. Perfect.