We gave the girls ice skating lessons for Christmas. We have a rec center near our house that offers them pretty inexpensively. It's also low-key. No future Olympians there, just kids having fun and getting fit. I chose the time carefully---9:35 on Saturday morning. That's early enough that it doesn't break up the day, but late enough that our Saturday can begin without alarm clocks and hurry.
I had some mixed feelings about scheduling something on Saturday, which is more often than not our Sabbath day. But I relented, because a) it's only six weeks, b) it's something they really wanted to do, and c) there are times we have Sabbath on Sunday, so often there won't be a conflict.
Their first Saturday, they had a great time. I watched them fall, and smile, and get up, again and again. It's hard work, ice skating. But they were bubbly with excitement when it was over, and couldn't wait to go back the next week.
The next week was this past Saturday. Robert and I got up in our quiet slowness and made our way downstairs, where the girls were already with James, making a boat out of the chairs in our family room. Caroline had cut an anchor out of black construction paper and was tying it to one of the armrests with embroidery floss.
We reminded them of the ice skating, and they cheered at being able to go again. And then... they kept playing. "Can we have breakfast on the boat?" Sure.
We kept reminding them of the lessons: "You do want to go, right?" And they kept saying, "Yeah, we do. Of course we do."
Back to the boat.
We eventually got them dressed and shod and jacketed and out the door with one rec center membership card but not the other. Which is pretty good for us.
And they were glad to go, but a little reluctant to leave the boat.
I realized: Sabbath has seeped into them. They have grown to need it. Love it.
A friend of mine moved away from here because she was fed up by what she called the "Fairfaxedness." If you live in Fairfax County, you know what I'm talking about, although the Fairfaxedness is far and wide. There's so much about living here that is great. But sometimes it feels like we're experiencing an epidemic, if you will, of schedules and practices and enrichment and your-turn-to-bring-the-snack.
But maybe our year of Sabbath-taking inoculated them against the Fairfaxedness, just a little bit. Not that we won't all catch a fever every now and then. But that day of rest and play helped build up some antibodies. I do believe it did.