Yesterday my six-year old grandson asked me this question: "What do you do all day?" My reflexive thought was "very little," which I think came from comparing my days now to how much I could accomplish back in the days when I was working, or comparing my days to his parents with their complicated schedules. I didn't give him an answer then, but I will the next time I see him.
Every day this week, Steve and I have been to the gym for an hour every morning, walked to our local coffee shop in the afternoon to get some air and run errands, and after dinner, we have taken walks in the surrounding neighborhood admiring the stately and well-kept homes along with the ones that are struggling a bit.
Yesterday, after the gym, we went to our favorite bakery to buy a baguette for dinner and some treats for lunch, and then on to Whole Foods to buy food for the dinner we would be making for our grandkids and their parents. We came home, and I immediately started cookies for dessert and preparing the meatballs since there wouldn't be much time later on. We picked Sam up early so he could help me make pasta (he chose spaghetti), and then he played Yahtzee with Steve until dinner was ready. His dad and sister joined us for dinner, and Mom showed up right at the end due to traffic. Then we all went across the street to Sam's school for the Spring Choral, and watched Sam thoroughly enjoy singing with his classmates. Lucy lasted through about half of it.
Today, after the gym, we went to check out the first Farmer's Market of the season at Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. We have started taking longer routes when we can, so we can see all of the different neighborhoods. Many of the neighborhoods remind me of Oakland, California, when I was growing up, especially the architecture and the structure of the shopping districts at the heart of each neighborhood. We parked near PPG center in downtown, with it's multi-spired super modern architecture, but across the street was the Benedum-Trees building, a historic landmark from 1908. It's early in the Farmer's Market season, but there was a little produce, baked goods, local honeys, and some interesting looking Greek food we may try another day. We chose a different route home, because in Pittsburgh streets meander and turn and you suddenly find yourself with yet another amazing view from a hilltop. After a stop at Target (yes, we have to be practical sometimes), we went home to try out some of our goodies from the market, the "San Francisco Sour Dough" bread that was a little disappointing, and the apple strudel, which was not.
After living our lives in a "be as efficient as possible so you can accomplish as much as you can mode," it is not easy to switch gears and begin taking the time to look around at the scenery and appreciate it. It is especially hard not to have a schedule, and to find a balance between busy-ness for it's own sake and really accomplishing something. I'd say that each day I have several things that are on my agenda, but there is very little that simply must be done that day, so if something more inviting comes along, it's okay to postpone it until the next day. There is time now to evaluate which things mean more, so a household chore will always lose to time with the grandkids.
So I think the answer I will give Sam is that when we were young like he is, we went to school, too. And then we went to college, where we both went to classes and worked at jobs. After college, we got jobs and then had children, and we worked just as much as his parents do. Now that our children are grown, and we no longer have jobs to go to everyday, we finally have time to decide for ourselves how we want to spend our time. And we feel very, very lucky to have the time to make dinner for he and his family, and to go to the program at his school.