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Earlier this week as I checked to see if it was time  to pick Olivia up from school, it hit me:  When school starts in the fall she will go until 2:10, and this stay-at-home Grammy will have my entire morning free.  Every day, not just my Wednesday each month when I run away to Fresno for the day, but every Monday through Friday.  There will be a first grader and a fifth grader in our house, and my schedule will undergo a drastic change.

Now for many women this is commonplace, but it has never happened to me before.  As a mom with a job outside the home, I went back to work full-time when my daughter was five and a half weeks old.  She was in day care until she started school, and in after-school day care after that (I have shared before how my decision to continue working after her birth is one of my very few regrets in life).  So I didn’t experience this lengthening of my “free time” as she grew older.

I am kind of panicky about it.  How will life’s expectations of me change, now that I have the entire morning to myself?  More importantly, how will my own expectations of me change?  Will I rush to “over-schedule” those empty hours (I tend to do that), or will I simply enjoy the peace and quiet?  Will this be the time that I finally find a workable housekeeping routine (don’t hold your breath here)?  Or will I grant myself the flexibility and freedom to extend my reading-in-the-garden time, or set up a permanent creating space in my bedroom?

cloudy river

It was a beautifully cloudy morning for my walk along the St. John’s River Parkway today.

Right now I am enjoying my early morning walks by the river after dropping the girls off at school.  And I love that moment each day when I ask Olivia how her day went, and she answers with some variation on, “Awesome!”

I guess that time will simply come later each day.  To be continued in the fall…