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The Sunday Sweater

The morning sun filters through the window and falls in a blanket of warmth around me, creating a perfect writing space.  In my mind, I an taken back to a scene from my childhood, where I am wrapped in my Dad’s old  sweater curled up in a chair that sits in a south facing window.  Like a lazy dog, I am soaking up the rays.

I wore that storm cloud gray sweater every Sunday as far back as I can remember.  I have no memory of Dad in this cardigan- the flying geese patterned sweater with three buttons always graced my body-first to my knees and twice around me, until I was older and its length hit me at mid thigh.  By then, even the washing couldn’t return the sweater to any original shape and it hung wide in the back and low in the front, yet three seasons of the year, it was my Sunday sweater.

Sunday was a sacred sabbath day at our house.  Saturday was work day, cleaning the house or doing yard work, so having a day to decide what I wanted to do was amazing.  After church in the morning, we would pick up Grandma at her apartment and bring her home for family day.  Dad made the best breakfast with sausage, scrambled eggs and orange juice, balanced out with my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls.  It was like breakfast at a restaurant every Sunday!

As soon as I was out of my church clothes, I would don the old gray sweater, wrapping myself up in permission to do nothing if I chose.  I often took two hour naps while mom and grandma made cookies and put dinner in the oven.  Sometimes I re-arranged the furniture in my room by sitting on the floor, putting my back against the dresser or bed, and using my legs to move the pieces to new corners of the room.  Or I would sit at the kitchen table, finishing schoolwork while munching on Grandma’s cookies.  Often a family game of cards got us all laughing, or a game of scrabble with Grandma kept me on my toes. The afternoons always brought the Bronco games which Grandma and Dad watched religiously.  My religion was more apt to be the Wonderful World of Disney.  I was bathed and in pajamas by six so I could watch a Disney movie before I went to bed.  Sometimes, the sweater even took the place of my robe, on days when I needed a little extra love.  Mostly, my Sunday sweater gave me a sense that all was right with the world.  Whether it was family time, or the magic of the old gray sweater, I don’t know.

These days, I am the mom who makes the waffles, cookies,  and  banana bread to fill the freezer.  I am the one to put something in the oven or crockpot for dinner. I am the one who pays the bills and makes sure there is food in the fridge for lunches during the week.  My mind seems to be in a constant state of surveillance, looking for all the things that need to be done.  I long for the days of Dad’s old gray sweater.  I wish I could wrap it around my shoulders and feel the same sense of ease I did then.  I wonder if I could still smell the sunshine in its stitches, or if I could feel the  slowing of my heartbeat.  I want to surround myself with the feeling that all is right with the world.

I realize as I write this that our family has lost some sense of Sabbath, and every day has become a work day of sorts.  Although I see us bringing play into other parts of the week, there is no longer a sacred day where work is put aside, and we have a chance to slow down our breathing and take a two hour nap if we want.  School work looms large and it always seems to spill onto Sundays.  Tony’s work schedule takes up half the day.  Yet writing this brings back that old sweater feeling, and I want to give the girls permission to do nothing if they choose.  The question is how do I bring that about in a world that is so focused on production?

I would love your input.  How do you take time for yourself in this busy world?  What day is a sabbath day for you?  How do you keep holy your time so you can rejuvenate?  This seems to be an issue for many of us, one that I will revisit again.  Please give me your feedback so I can help our girls find this magical gift called Sabbath.  I want them to know what it feels like to don a Sunday sweater full of free time, sunshine, and love.

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