A to Z Challenge letter: M.
I recall grade eight, the year I entered high school, as the year Monday mornings emerged from an endless blur of days to something sharp, uncomfortable, the first cut in a series of five cuts patched on weekends, the delicate wounds reopened the following Monday.
High school is never easy. It is harder when you are the youngest of five hundred adolescents, unformed, naive, gullible, your clothes too K-Mart, your hair too short, your curves too flat. A few years later, Mondays are less pointed, but by no means soft.
When you're taller, curvier, wiser, Monday mornings become the squat starting block of five routine hurdles, each a gray square to be clambered over best as possible on the way to the psychedelic weekend. After graduation, Mondays coalesced from the mist of adolescence only slightly brighter, tarnished pennies in a handful of change where the value depended on how close each was to Friday. And then I had kids.
With the birth of my first child Mondays sank into a quagmire of feedings, sleepless nights, diapers, stained burp cloths, exhaustion, anxiety, and the occasional moment of quiet and contentment, punctuated by spontaneous toothless grins and excited squeals. But those moments disappeared when I returned to work and Mondays loomed like a craggy mountain in the path of a weekend hang-glider.
I had just found my wind, and was learning how to soar above the insecure havoc motherhood wrought on my otherwise ordered life, and Slam! I was back in high school, another harried neophyte attempting to navigate scheduled blocks of time while juggling the expectations--and criticism--of peers and persons in authority, only now I was also responsible for keeping a child happy, safe and educated, so he could grow into a responsible, centered, and productive adult, and do it all from a distance, like a doctor performing brain and heart surgery from another room using really long chopsticks. I hated Mondays.
Mondays only regained favor with me when I stepped out of the paid workforce to stay home to raise my children. Suddenly Mondays were just another day in an unpredictable week, gaining significance only when the kids started school as it marked the beginning of a predictably hectic schedule.
Newsletters, bake sales, hot lunch money, hockey practice vs. basketball game, doctor, dentist, sleepovers, laundry, grocery shopping, weekend sports' tournaments, visits to the ER...as the kids grew older and their individual activities broader--and more high-risk--I began, for the first time in three decades, to look forward to Monday mornings, to a few hours of silence and stillness. With only two of the four living at home, and both of them old enough to manage their time and belongings effectively, I find Mondays are bittersweet for me now.
The weekly pace is slower even if the activities no less rigorous. I no longer need to stand point, issuing reminders as four young people scramble to down breakfast, find missing homework, stuff backpacks, grab coats and slam out the door. I no longer consult my date book to discover where I need to be, and when, on what days and where. I am once again floating on a warm wind.
My mother once told me that now she is retired, every day is Monday, and every day is Friday; it is either the best day, or the worst day, depending on what she has planned. And that is the essence of Monday.
Mondays are what we make of them depending on where we are in life, and how we are living that life. What about you...are Mondays a peach in a fruitful week, or a first of many stone blocks to grind?
Please share in the comments.
Whether one is twenty, forty, or sixty; whether one has succeeded, failed, or just muddled along; whether yesterday was full of sun or storm, or one of those dull days with no weather at all, life begins each morning!...Each morning is the open door to a new world--new vistas, new aims, new tryings. ~Leigh Mitchell Hodges