Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Day Playing Hookie

Growing up, my mom never hesitated to have me play hookie from school when she thought that I needed a day of R & R to re-group and rejuvenate. Even as a young child I was always an over-achiever, always driven, always pushing myself to the limits. She was a great mom for a kid like that -- she was always on top of me about it, always encouraging me to slow down and "stop to smell the roses." While other kids' mothers nagged them to try harder, mine nagged me to take it down a notch. And when push came to shove, she'd keep me out of school to force the issue if she had to. She was more than willing to go to bat for me if any of my teachers had a problem with it. In my teenage years she began advocating for me to decide for myself when I needed these hookie days. And by the last couple years of high school, when I would tell her I needed to take a day to play hookie from school, she had no problem writing me an "excused absence" note to give to the principal's office the next day. These were not days shared with friends. These were not days to get stuff done. These were not days jaunting off to do adventurous things. It was always just me, or me and my mom. I always stuck close to home. And the days were always planned so that they didn't get in the way of tests or important school events. What a gift this was to me from my mom: the invaluable gift of teaching a highly-ambitious-go-go-go-kind-of-kid how to monitor herself and take time out when she needed it. To this day this is one of the gifts for which I am most grateful to my mother. So, it is a very conscientious thing on my part to now try to pass that gift along to my two go-go-go-go-go-and-never-stop boys.

We got back from Meera's baptism weekend late Sunday night. It had been an exhausting couple of weeks both emotionally and physically. Lots of travel (to New Hampshire for four days when Eric died; to Connecticut for two days for Meera's baptism), lots of people, lots of loss of routine, lots of eating on the run, lots of sleep deprivation, lots and lots and lots to think about. Sending the boys off to school first thing Monday morning just seemed wrong. And so it was... a day to play hookie from school. It turned out to be an absolutely glorious fall day. The boys were in their element playing together outside in the foliage all day long. And Tuesday they were ready to get back at it again-- off to school they went, happy, rested, recuperated, regrouped, and rejuvenated. That hookie day ranks up there as one of our best days in a long while.


Czarnecki Family said...

My mom used to do the same for me and my siblings. I have wonderful memories of staying home on a few rainy, cold winter days drinking tea and just talking with my mom. Thinking back, what a great opportunity to connect with your teenage kids and actually talk! I've had people be very critical of that, and accuse her of undermining the schools, but I was also an overachiever and I think it let me know that spending time with me was much more important than any achievements. My mom and I are still extremely close and I wouldn't give up those days for anything.

Anonymous said...

My mom did the same as well. I have to say I'm not as good at doing that kind of thing with my own kids. I need to plan a day off for them, although the don't like missing school.


Anonymous said...

My Auntie did the same thing with me when I was young. I never got around to doing it to Becky and Shawn when they were younger, but when they were in middle and now in high school I give them hookie days off and on.

We just hang out and have family time. Or do nothing at all.

Love and Hugs,

Katie said...

Shucks! I wish my Mom had done that for me when I was a kid. Rather, as a typical Chinese parent, she would tell me to take a Tylenol when I had a fever and go to school anyway. I'm pretty sure I "won" the perfect attendance award every year.

You are very lucky indeed. It took me until I was 8 or 9 months pregnant last year to finally learn how to take a day off...

What a wonderful gift you are passing to your children. Now thanks to reading your post, I will know to do the same with mine when the time comes :)