As you may expect (and have probably gathered from my ramblings), life with three little kids (or four or two or whatever), isn’t all that conducive to recreation. At least, not while the youngest is under three or so.
Free time is a mythical creature akin to a unicorn or centaur. I can’t definitively prove that it doesn’t exist, but it has yet to show itself.
Unlike a unicorn, I can wrench an hour or two of free time into existence with the help of a good babysitter or a road trip to South Dakota or a wisely used nap-time. The question then is how to use that time.
It’s almost paralyzing. Like that first week after finals in college. You’d spent the past month of school scrambling with competing deadlines and dreaming of all the things you’d do when time opened up. Then, when the last final was complete, you’d be dizzied a bit by the options. At least I was.
That scenario recreates itself every few hours around here. I hustle through the tasks of the day, and end it with the prospect of a free hour or two. Too tired to do anything more? Maybe. But I’d love to write more, to read more (newspapers, anyone? the outside world is still turning right?), to go for a jog… or a beer at the local brewpub.
Usually, by the time I settle down to a task the magic vanishes and free time is once again a myth.
So instead I watch Max toddle after his sisters, making them squeal with his gooey kisses while they set up elaborate games for one another. And I remind myself that this extraordinary, adorable, exhausting phase of toddler-hood, complete with its imminent danger and remarkable learning curve, will become a legend of its own one day.
I’ll struggle to recall the exact cadence of that diapered bottom wobbling down the hall and his sweet tone as he sings, “Maaaa-MA! Maaaa-MA!”
And then, when babyhood has retreated to mythical status, I’ll camp and create and be a little more free.