I needed some "me" time so I called in sick to work today. Okay, I almost said that with a straight face. The "me" time part, not the calling in sick. It's summer break, the kids are home, so "me" time is a dream, something that happens in movies when you're rich and have a nanny, or live in a secluded area where the kids learn to grow up fast and fend for themselves. My "me" time for today? Staying home making doctors appointments, calling our apartment manager to fix some things in the townhome, having the kids clean out their drawers and put things away in their memory boxes. At least the cleaning and sorting are activities they can do on their own. Because they are old enough to get it done. With little supervision. So mom can have her "me" time, listening to their conversation, in front of the fan and computer, drinking a soda and eating her peanut M&M's. Because she needs more calories.
What would my "me" time look like? If I were queen of the world? It would consist of a few hours of writing when a thought sneaks into my mind like a ninja on an assassin mission or screeches into my head like Dom's muscle car in a Fast & Furious movie. Whichever one comes first. Of course, without interruption. Unless someone is bringing me some snacks, on quiet feet, and quickly running out because I'm writing. Think of me as the lion in the cage at the zoo. Quickly, quietly, drop off my stuff and run for your life.
My "me" time would be a little extra cash and the family going to a restaurant, other than McD's or any other fast food joint. Something like Wingers, or Olive Garden, or Red Robin. I can sit in silence while the kids interact with their dad, telling him stories, and cracking jokes. No one talking to me, just letting me listen and absorb the good things in life. My life. Catching quick smiles from the hubby, making kissy lips while the kids roll their eyes and get grossed out. That's why we become parents, right? To gross out our kids and embarrass the heck out of them.
Sitting at the park on a sunny, but not too hot, summer day with a picnic (Subway sandwiches and 7-Eleven treats) having the kids play on the playground or the basketball court or in the sand at the volleyball area. Watching them quietly. Wondering where the time has gone. They are growing too quickly. Becoming independent, strong, beautiful women. Once in a while they turn to wave and smile. Or run to give me a quick kiss and then it's back to playing. When did my babies grow up? "Me" time at the park. Definitely near the top of the list.
A day trip to go hiking at one of the many beautiful, scenic spots in the Salt Lake Valley. That kind of "me" time where you're one with nature and your kids. Talking is at a minimum and you can hear the sounds of birds, insects, and your heavy breathing. Especially if it's uphill. But it's "me" time so you endure. When you get to the lookout point, you see the faces of your children light up. The view is incredible. You feel like you're on top of the world. Zeus in his castle in the clouds. God looking down from heaven. Tagaloa traveling in the sky across the Pacific Ocean to see his voyaging children. That's some real, cars look like ants, I can see the whole valley, I can touch outer space, "me" time.
Growing up in a collective, Samoan/Polynesian culture, "me" time consists of family members always around or calling to go somewhere. It's understanding that having those people around to teach your children Fa'asamoa (Samoan Way) is key to their "me" time. Because there's really never been "me" time in our culture. "I" and "me" do not exist. It's "us" and "we". When we accomplish great things, it's our family we represent. When we do something bad, it's our family that suffers. When is my "me" time? It's those few minutes at night, when all the kids are sleeping, that I can reflect and be happy knowing my family is taken care of, my children are safe, and another day has gone by with a lot of laughter and love. "Me" time is giving good night kisses and saying I Love You. Every night. "Me" time is teaching my kids respect, values, and culture. When I'm old and retired, "me" time will be expanded to grandchildren and the continued teaching of ancestry. "Me" time is knowing you will never be lonely because there are too many people who love you and will do anything to help you. "Me" time is family. For always and forever.