“Do you want to go out and get dinner?”
Frowning into the phone, I feel fairly certain that my grumpiness radiates off my non-answer enough that my preference doesn’t have to be spoken out loud to Lovey. His question is the token one that is thrown out at some point each Friday even knowing its doomed fate before it appears on his lips. I’ve made the last drive of the week from work to the girl’s daycare to pick them up. They dance around me asking if it’s pizza and movie night and if tomorrow is a home day as they shove pink and blue backpacks and fleece blankets and strawcups and markered papers into my quickly filling arms. We don’t have to go anywhere and so I don’t even really want to think about trying to. My response is reflexive, not thought out. As the girls shout out the color of their daily stars they landed on to me I whisper, “Maybe next week.” into the phone before clicking it off.
It’s been a long week and the laundry isn’t folded from the weekend before and the bags haven’t been unpacked from two weekends before and the wrappings from Zuzu’s birthday celebrations should have been packed back up and stored until the next celebration rather than being left to the unyielding crayoning, scissoring and glueing of the crafty little hooligans we live with. I didn’t really want to go anywhere.
I never want to go anywhere on a Friday evening.
I want to go back into my cluttered house and ignore the laundry, the dishes, the bills, books, clothing and toy sorting I’ve intended to organize for weeks and spend the evening pondering my gluten-free status and actually read the all of the articles I saved on Facebook throughout the week, and pin more items to my Pinterest boards knowing I won’t actually make any of them and close my eyes glorying in the lack of need to turn the alarm on and eat chocolate-cherry Kind bars while watching Sherlock clips on You-tube as the girls rock-paper-scissor-off Netflix choice rights with the TV in the living room.
Anything but make an effort and publicly parent over nachos and quesadillas. Not even the promise of a margarita can usually pull me out of this pattern of slovenly indulgence. I give in to this instinct most Friday nights. A cheese pizza bakes in the oven while the Netflix UN meets to confirm the order of Fairies vs Monsters vs Ponies. The neon-green, white and orange striped picnic blanket is laid on top of the black patterned living room rug and the Quail lines the stripes up precisely with the inky swirls while Sugarplum dive-bombs her from atop of the ottoman and Zuzu commandeers the remote for herself. Lovey and I eventually trail in and sit on the couch waiting for them to finish their pizza slices and crawl up under our pillow-propped arms or we may meander off to entertain ourselves, knowing that at least two of the three will eventually give up their cartoon images to snooze in our bed to the sounds of Danish voices solving crimes. Most Fridays it’s a mix of both.
It seems like nothing.
It’s so very plain and ordinary and routine and….comfortable. When one of us try to suggest any other plans, they are typically met with resistance by at least half of us. It takes a lot to get us out of the house on a Friday night with these children. And it’s easy to devalue those few hours spent together as “nothing” going on.
But, to those girls, these unencumbered hours are a comfort. A soft place to fall that lets them relax their brains and their bodies as they cuddle into their parents knowing there are no real expectations of them other than the UN agreement of what order to watch their shows in turn.
And that’s enough.
Knowing that doing nothing together is everything.