Pulling Up the Drawbridges
My husband and I have an image we use when life is crazy on the outside, and we need a weekend to recharge.
We pull up the drawbridges.
Think of those medieval castles from history or Disney cartoons (I always think of Robin Hood swimming in the mote, using a reed as a breathing tube.) Those castles all have a beautiful mote with a pack of alligators guarding it, and the drawbridge comes down for friends and pulls up for oncoming attacks.
We pull up the drawbridges of our weekend as a metaphor to keep everyone at home with nothing on the agenda for a couple of days. We don’t leave the house or have a play date. We don’t go shopping or visit family or get some extra work done or work on a house project.
We have those active weekends, too. Plenty of them — with the running errands and fixing a stubborn backyard gate and attending 18 birthday parties on a Saturday afternoon. But once in a while, when our week gets an onslaught of busy, busy, we take a weekend to put all the spinning plates down for a minute and breathe.
We bring in sustenance beforehand — popcorn, pizza makings, Chinese takeout, ice cream, ingredients for cookies, plenty of coffee and wine — and we park ourselves at home. (Yes, we eat our feelings sometimes.) On drawbridge weekends, especially in the fall or winter, I might make something like chicken noodle soup or chili - something that takes longer to make and requires the occasional stir.
We spend time resetting the house, and we shut the door and tune out the world. We read books, watch movies, make cookies, look at each other in the face and have a conversation, and we rest. We might do some laundry, but we don’t do anything super hard. We don’t spend a ton of time on the internet, except to laugh at cat videos.
This drawbridge time allows us time to get away from the world when we don’t have time to escape the day-to-day. Drawbridge time is a perfect way to end the week after starting a new routine, like the kids going back to school. We are all ready for the new routine and the schedule and planned days again, but new routines are exhausting.
Drawbridge time is perfect after a crazy holiday season when you have been to a dozen parties and several weekends away for family visits. It’s a great thing to do after a big party leaves your house. You pull up the drawbridge, reset, and rest.
I like the drawbridge image because it implies that the castle is usually open. The pulling up of a drawbridge is occasional. It’s a clear boundary, and it helps my kids understand as well. We all need time to be together for absolutely no reason.