Sunday mornings are one of my favorite things. We don’t usually do too much on Sunday mornings in the Forster household, but what we do accomplish is near and dear to my heart. Good coffee, keeping the woobs (house clothes, not strictly pajamas you understand, but they could be) on until lunchtime, reading a good book on the couch, doing a crossword, more coffee, Lily working on emptying out all of her toy baskets in the middle of the living room, , etc, etc. Ash loves to listen to NPR, waiting attentively for the time when Will Shortz (the crossword editor for the New York Times) comes on with a puzzler of some sort. In between Mr. Shortz saying, “Now think of a word that rhymes with the slang term for a pubic wig….take the first and last letters and replace them with different letters and you will get the name of a popular late 20th century Catholic priest,” or something like that, Ash will call out the answer. She really should call up and try to get on that show. Anyway, what really thrills me about Sunday mornings, besides not having to go to church (after all these years that is still a novelty) is the knowledge that we do not have to be anywhere or do anything.
There is real value in unstructured family time, especially now that we have a child. My more powerful memories of childhood revolve around time at home when we were all just hanging out as a family. Mum would inevitably have something going on , she was always busy, bless her. She was probably doing everything that the rest of us should have been doing on Sunday mornings. My sisters would be complicit in a silly team- oriented project of some sort, bouncing a small furry box between them and calling it “playing Penticos” (whatever that means.) The closest I have ever come to an understanding of where they found this word is Pentecost, which means the seventh Sunday after Easter. Unwittingly my sisters where commemorating the day in which Jesus Christ descended from the heavens and visited his disciples. I always knew that 15 years of religious indoctrination would work its way into our subconscious somehow.
My father was the worst offender of unstructured Sunday time. He would typically be found puttering around out in the garden, although he never accomplished very much as he was always listening to the football or cricket. On looking for him one would walk out into the back yard amongst the grevilleas and bottle-brushes and find him standing very still and staring vacantly at an old transistor radio as a commentator was saying, “Bruce White punts the ball from center field… good footballer is young Whitey, just like his Dad Big Whitey, who played for Collingwoood back in the 70’s. The game was a different kettle of fish back in those days, wasn’t it Malcolm?” “Bloody oath, Jack.” “Too right Mal. Whitey kicks the ball onto Daryl Jones. Jonsey to Smith, Smith to Black, and Black cops a crack from behind by Rodney Brown and Collingwood players are coming from everywhere! Oh, they’ve ripped Brown’s arms off and rammed them up his arse sideways, that’s not pretty, but he deserved it the cheeky bugger…” you get my drift. Like me, my father could not multi-task to save his life, and the end result of his dedication to sports broadcasting was a distinct lack of progress regarding the aforementioned garden. I’m not sure that landscaping progress was really the point in the end.
These days, although the scene has changed, these are parallels that still connect me to my family back in Australia and help he to value “down time” as an essential weekly ritual. We don’t always get it right, but when we do, it’s perfect.