It may only be Thursday but it’s been a long week.
Colliding work projects. End-of-the-year events at in my kids’ classrooms. Volunteer projects that are spinning wildly out of control.
I am somewhat fatigued, somewhat behind, and my house has dust bunnies the size of, well, cocker spaniels.
Other working parents probably know the scene.
And then yesterday morning, as I was rushing about, putting together breakfasts, lunch boxes, snacks, homework, show-and-tell items, permission slips, etc., my 10-year-old looked at the calendar and suddenly piped up, “Oh no, Mommy!” It’s May 21st!”
“Oh no, what?” I replied weakly, assuming she had, like, a 10-page report on ligers due for her fourth grade classroom.
But oh no, it wasn’t a liger issue. It was, she pointed out in a stricken tone of voice, the chickens’ birthday.
And we needed to celebrate.
She was right, of course. Two of our chickens were born on May 21st, 2007 and we are a Family that Celebrates Pet Birthdays. Not only that: The first year birthday for chickens is a biggie, because that’s when girl chickens transition from being “pullets” to “hens” and boy chickens transition from being “cockerels” to “roosters.”
Now, I needed more things on my list of Things to Do like a dog needs a back pocket. But I knew I had to rise to the occasion. So I dutifully wrote down, “Chix B-Day: Cake. Lemonade. Treats for chickens. Pig’s Ear (dog).”
And after I picked up my kids from school, I piled cottage cheese, strawberries, and leftover noodles on pie plates (for the pullet/hens); put slices of cake on our prettiest plates (for the children); stuck a pig’s ear on a paper plate (for the dog); and laid it all out on a red-and-white-checked tablecloth in the backyard. Then we let the pullet/hens out of their coop, called them over to the party scene (“c’mon chickens…bawk! bawk! bawk!”), and watched them dive into their treats, while we dove into ours.
It was quite a party.
And despite my fatigue, despite the overwhelming list of professional to-do’s sitting on my desk, despite the volunteer projects that threatened to swallow my entire house, I found myself relaxing into the whole chaotic scene of kids, chickens, the giant dog, cake, cottage cheese, and cold noodles, and blurting out, “I just love my life.”
It’s true. Our improptu party scene reminded me why it’s so important to take breaks. Breaks allow us to appreciate what we have, remember what we’re working for, refresh our tired minds, and celebrate the small pleasures of daily life.