30 Minutes To Myself
Taking An Ice Cream Vacation
The other day, I took 30 minutes for myself. You may be wondering what the big deal is about that? Well, I am a mother, and as a mother, we don't get a lot of time for ourselves, unless we carve it into our schedules and build it into our busy lives of shuffling kids to play dates, school functions, work, grocery shopping, meal preparation, doing dishes, cleaning, laundry, being the family taxi driver, etc.
On a particular day in question, I got up at 6:00 a.m. showered, got dressed, and jumped in the car to bring my daughter, who doesn't have her license yet, to work. Then it was off to the next town over where my son lives to bring him to work. I also had an errand to run for my third child. Then I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some needed items before the store got busy. I went home to take the dog for a walk, do the dishes, and straighten the kitchen a bit. Last week, I left my job of seven years at a local high school but had not finished cleaning my office yet, so off I went to the office to finish that task. I had forgotten that in the summer months it could get very hot in that office because there's no air conditioning or fans. Within an hour I was covered with sweat as I carried armloads of papers and old college posters back and forth to the recycling bins down the hall. About ninety minutes later, after sending out some goodbye emails and filing, I was really worn out, tired, and even hotter than before. I forced myself to stay for thirty more minutes, so I hopefully wouldn't have to return to the office. Leaving my job was a tough decision, and I wanted to move on as quickly as I could now that the school year had ended.
At the end of that half-hour time, I decided I needed a reward. I had another hour before I was due to pick up my daughter from work. Since she works thirty minutes away from where my office was, I had an extra thirty minutes of spare time. What to do with that thirty minutes weighed heavily on my weary, usually over the scheduled brain, until I realized that I needed, and deserved a break. There is an ice cream store directly across the street from where I had to pick up my daughter. I had an extra thirty minutes in my schedule. I wondered if I dared take that thirty minutes and cool off in the ice cream shop, all by myself?
It felt unnatural not to have anything to do. I reviewed the rest of the day's schedule in my mind, and checked my calendar, but couldn't find anything else that was supposed to fill up that time. So I hurried to my car, with just a little skip in my step, even in the ninety-degree heat!
All the way to the ice cream store I wondered if it was still open. After all, I had only been there once before, and it was a few years ago with a friend. Driving into the hot and dusty parking lot, I was thrilled to see the OPEN sign on the door. I walked in, still not believing I would be fortunate enough to pull this off.
I left my phone in the car deciding that if this was going to be a real treat, I wanted no interruptions. I just wanted thirty minutes to myself. I was greeted by a rush of cool air which I was extremely grateful for. I felt parched, and my throat was dry from the dust in the recycling bins that billowed up to meet me as I was loading the armloads of papers into them.
I was greeted by a nice young man with a big smile who asked me if it was still hot outside. I wearily replied that it was, feeling a bit disheveled now due to the heat. He asked what kind of ice cream I wanted. Hmmm, decisions, decisions. There were so many choices from the Gifford's of Maine ice cream company. There were, of course, the standard vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, but as my eyes traveled down the ice cream listings, I saw flavors like Maine Wild Blueberry, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Lover's Chocolate, Moose Tracks, and then, I saw it, my very favorite flavor of ice cream: chocolate chip cookie dough! I always feel like I am getting a bonus with this flavor. Not only do I get the ice cream, but a bonus of chunks of delicious cookie dough. I ordered two scoops in a cup, feeling one scoop would not be enough to cool me off and soothe my parched throat. When he handed the ice cream to me, I paid, thanked him, and turned around. Of the ten tables in the cafe, only one was taken, on one side of a partition. I noticed the daily newspaper on the counter for customers to peruse, so grabbed that and went to the other side of the petition to sit at a table. I can't tell you who came in or out of the ice cream store while I ate my ice cream. I just took that thirty minutes, read that paper, and savored every single spoonful of that delicious, cold, and creamy ice cream.
One thing that I realized made the experience even better was that during those thirty minutes, there was no place else I was supposed to be. No little errands that I had to run. No one that I was late to pick up, or that I had to drop off anywhere. It was like heaven on earth, and I can tell you from the heart that I enjoyed every single minute of my thirty minutes "ice cream vacation." And I think every mother deserves one.
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© 2012 Karen Hellier