Monday, August 24, 2009

I Don't Like Mondays

The Boomtown Rats got it right when they sang “I Don’t Like Mondays.” For most of my life, Monday has been a hurdle -- a cyclone fence topped with barb wire -- not the beginning of a new day or at fresh start to the work week. I have started and failed many a diet on a Monday. In my twenties, I pulled myself, completely unwilling, out of bed to catch the 125 city bus in the park for work on Mondays. I have ended most vacations on a Sunday only to wake Monday to the discombobulating racket from the alarm clock getting the boys dressed and fed and out to school by 8 a.m. still in a complete fog.

Mondays my husband gets an early start -- his cell phone alarm buzzing and ringing on the windowsill -- my oldest son, sleeping on the floor after having a bad dream mid-night, and Sean wide-awake, sitting on the back of my legs saying over and over, “Mommy, wake up.”

I can’t hand him off like a baton to my husband, he is not running in this race today. He’s participating in a different race, better known as the rat-race. On early Monday mornings, it’s just Sean and me, getting ready for an intense sprint.

Even when I was a kid, I despised Monday. My sister and I, still to this day, laugh about the ticking sounds emanating from the old Zenith on Sunday evenings -- my parents Pavlovian response to the tick-tocks -- clearing dishes from the table just in time to collapse into the sofa and watch 60 Minutes the Newsmagazine Show. For my sister and me, it was just a painful reminder that the weekend was closing -- all work and no play in front of us. Time to finish up homework and get our clothes ready for tomorrow -- for Monday. Time to start the cycle all over.

Mondays stretch out for me like the vast wilderness, the landscape perilous, the geography problematic and the dangers uncertain. And yet I have no other choice but to journey ahead, picking my feet up and throwing them forward. Mondays can set the tone for the whole week -- a difficult Monday can mean a difficult week. And Sean, he is the Magic 8 Ball who can determine what the future holds -- Ask again later or Not likely or Yes. I don’t think he wants to have such power, but the truth is, he does. Our lives are often mingled together -- a good day for Sean equals a good day for me -- an equation that relies wholly on the parts equaling the sum no margin for error, no rounding up. I say this with math not being my strong suit -- disappointing since my father is an accountant and one brother is an actuary.

So today was bumpy. Some fits and crying that didn’t make much sense. I let Sean ride his bike, careening across a large expanse of black asphalt, his legs pumping with purpose and power. He became whiny shortly after.

The afternoon we went to the swimming pool at a nearby college. Sean flirted with the pretty young co-eds and said to one of them, “I am going to marry you.” His brother turning scarlet behind him. They laughed and let Sean splash them. Not long after, he asked to leave because the water was cold, his body pimpled with goose bumps. In the car ride home, his brother practiced his guitar and Sean made up songs and then complained that he was too hot.

So now Sean and I are in the kitchen and he is talking about strawberry season,

“It’s over, Mommy. Strawberry season is over. No more strawberries.”

He is commenting on the empty strawberry patches in our and our neighbor’s yards. Truth be told, there hasn’t been any strawberries since late June, but this hasn’t stopped Sean from mentioning it everyday since. It’s blackberry season. Tomorrow on our walk we will pick the wild blackberries, careful of the thorny branches. I can’t wait to see Monday in the rearview mirror. Welcome Tuesday.

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