Many years ago, I remember writing out the details of a single day. Somewhat for posterity, somewhat for myself so I could look back one day when I am older and have no young children and wonder how I survived. Every day, I write in my journal, but it is a brief, bullet-point list of the highlights.
Early yesterday morning, I decided to make mental notes of the day, for the purpose of sitting down and writing it all out later. I went back and looked at my own writing, and the last time I did this was on January 11th, 2010 — when my oldest son was only four months old. Once every 10-ish years is likely going to show me a drastic difference in how the days unfold.
Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
-The Beatles, “A Day in the Life”
I woke up at 5:12 a.m. (according to my FitBit). I wake of my own accord, no alarm. Get dressed, dry shampoo, wash face, eye cream.
I go down to the kitchen and prepare my morning cup of coffee with heavy cream. I sit at the kitchen table with my journal and record the prior day, read a few pages of George Orwell’s Why I Write and read a few poems from Mary Oliver’s American Primitive.
My parents had provided their Christmas plans for a visit the day prior so I checked train arrival times. Chatted with a friend via Messenger about the holidays. Checked Amazon, because I plan to make several Christmas purchases on Black Friday in hopes of deals. Cross-checked Target and found a LEGO item even cheaper at Target — by quite a bit — so I went ahead and placed the order.
The 7-year-old appeared at my side close to 6:00 am. He had the beginnings of a bloody nose, which he is prone to in the dry months. It stopped quickly and he sat next to me at the table with a few blank pieces of paper. He has been working on a comic called “The Little Ice Cream” and drew out several more scenes before handing it to me to read.
The kids have no school for this entire week before Thanksgiving, so the day was going to be juggling them and work. I wrote out a schedule for the entire day because my kids do a lot better when they know “the plan.”
I paid the 7-year-old his allowance, which I had forgotten to do on Saturday. He is paying me back for some books he bought, so he only received $1 to put in his “Give” jar, which is designated either for charity or gifts. He asked if we were going to go out shopping on Small Business Saturday and I told him that we might.
Started a load of laundry. Refilled a prescription online.
Heard wailing from upstairs. Went up to find the 2-year-old lying sprawled out on the floor, face-down, and my husband sitting next to her. My husband said “She’s having a moment” so I shrugged and left the room. They came down a few minutes later, the toddler still with snot coming out of her nose, but fully dressed.
My husband and I bustled about picking up the house. We have a cleaning crew that comes in bi-weekly and they were going to be arriving later that morning. We always tidy up before their arrival so they can focus on other thing. I sailed through the master bedroom, bathroom, and living room, quickly straightening up and putting things away. My husband picked up the kitchen and the toddler’s room, while also loading the dishwasher. I took out the garbage and dragged the cans to the side of the street for collection day.
We both handled bagels and milk to the kids as they requested breakfast. The bleary-eyed 10-year-old appeared in the kitchen. Now close to 7:30 am. We listened to songs from Frozen on the Alexa.
I told the two older kids that they needed to pick up their rooms and get dressed and there would be no tv until this was done.
Husband left to drop the toddler off at day care.
Settled in with the two older kids to watch the penultimate episode of the most current season of The Great British Baking Show at 8:00 a.m. After my single cup of coffee in the morning, I switch to tea. I also take my morning medication, fish oil, eat 5 almonds, and two slivers of dark chocolate.
The episode ends and I have two work meetings at 9:00 and 10:00. I tell the kids to “go play outside” since the cleaners have arrived and are now moving about the house. I tell my husband to feed the kids lunch at 11:00 so I can keep working.
When I finally emerge from my office a little after 11:00, lunch is in full swing with sandwiches. I grab some pita chips and hummus for myself. The 7-year-old has written a letter that he wants to put in the mailbox so I help him address it.
After lunch, we sit down to watch the finale episode of The Great British Baking Show, which they have been looking forward to. I try to confirm plans via Messenger with a friend for the next day (since it will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and no school), only to learn that her child is sick — so we reschedule for another day. I also email my aunt and ask her to send a bread recipe that my uncle uses, as the kids have been inspired to “bake things” after so many episodes of GBBS.
The episode finishes and I send the kids to their rooms for “quiet time” — read, listen to an audiobook or Wow in the World, whatever. I desperately want a nap, but instead sit back down at my desk to work some more. My husband had an appointment so he left the house.
Call my medical group’s office to schedule my annual mammogram, since I remember that the prior year’s appointment had been on Black Friday. I was told that the only options were either that night at 6:00 pm or CHRISTMAS EVE. I had to accept the evening’s appointment.
My husband arrived back home and I had to leave shortly after for a an eye appointment that I had scheduled weeks ago. I joked with the scheduling person for my mammogram that clinics should offer a full day of services: eye appointments, mammograms, dentist, physical, colonoscopy — and top it all of with a spa day. Just get it all done at one time. Changed clothes (out of my sweatpants) and managed to remember my glasses to take to the eye doctor.
From my eye appointment, that ended around 3:30 pm, I had to go directly to day care to pick up the toddler. Dropped her off at home, replied to a few quick work emails, switched the morning’s laundry to the dryer, then left again immediately to head to the mammogram.
It was dark and raining, which caused heavy traffic on the way to the clinic. I made a quick stop at UPS to mail a package. I had planned to stop and grab myself some dinner, but with being told that I needed to arrive 15 minutes early, I only had time to stop at Whole Foods (which was on the way) and grab myself a protein juice and a piece of cherry pie. Didn’t even get to eat the pie because I dropped the fork somewhere in the depths of my car and couldn’t find it in the dark.
I arrived at the clinic. Checking in took all of 30 seconds, so arriving 15 minutes early was a waste of time, since I then sat in the waiting room doing nothing. The mammogram itself was quick and I was headed home.
By the time I arrived home, all of the kids were fed and tucked in for the night. I brought in the garbage cans and the mail. The older kids have been asking to “go to bed” early as we head into darkness and cold nights, but they usually stay awake in their rooms until about 8:00 pm. Doesn’t matter to me — at least we’re done with them for the night.
I warmed up my pie, made a cup of tea, and went upstairs to talk to my husband. Sitting on the master bed, he keeps talking about how he wants to “teach me to code” (he is a programmer) as a way to spend time together. I remind him of a prior conversation in which I had told him that is interesting, but how will he reciprocate? What can he do that is of interest to me? He said that he would do some writing and I could provide him with prompts.
So I go downstairs and retrieve a book called 642 Things To Write About. After determining that he would rather write fiction, I give him one of the first prompts: “You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.” I tell him that I want 800 words and he can work on that while I watch Schitt’s Creek.
After 83 words, he was saying “This is soooo much writing” so I told him that 200 words would be fine. He padded his word count by adding lyrics from Elton John’s song “Rocket Man.”
We each said three things that we were thankful for from the day, which is always how we end the evening.
According to my FitBit, I fell asleep by 8:30 pm. Which then resulted in me being wiiiiide awake around 1:00 am…..