I have always been confused by Sunday’s numeric status. Is it the end of a week, the last day of the weekend, the 7th day on which we are all supposed to rest – we who follow a Christian, Western calendar of course? Or is it the first day of the week, which it would seem to be if you actually have one of those Western calendars hanging on your wall?
Or maybe Sunday is a day that can be both ending and beginning at the same time.
When I was a child, Sunday was a time for getting homework done and maybe going for a bike ride around the neighbourhood and definitely for watching football in the afternoon and Disney over supper. Sunday mornings my mother would sleep and my father would make breakfast; I learned to love ketchup on slightly burned toast, and savour the most delicious hashbrowns and scrambled eggs.
We were not a church going family. I think my parents were somewhat over-churched in their youth and came to similar, mild rebellion when it came to their own children. Unlike my sister and brothers, I have very clear memories of going to Lutheran Sunday school during the school year, and as a group we would often go to Anglican church services on during the summer with our paternal grandparents – although that was mostly because ice cream cones were promised in return for sitting quietly and reciting the Creed out loud, no mumbling. However, by the time it came to the three youngest boys, even getting them baptized, never mind attending Sunday school or church, was a tough act. Mum & Dad appear to have gone for a cheaper by the dozen discount when it came to Greg, Michael & Max… they had 3 1/2 yr old Greg, 2 yr old Michael and infant Max all christened at the same time!! And while I can’t be sure, I think that was the l last time our father was in church until his own mother’s funeral 11 years later.
Most Sunday afternoons we would all follow our separate pursuits but I don’t remember often separating, going out to different friends’ or outside activities. Or if we did, it was only for the afternoon because evening meant coming home and having a roast dinner of some kind, a gathering of active children and busy parents, and one devoted Labrador retriever who appreciated having all her humans in one place.
Sunday evenings were reading time, all the books I wanted to read for my soul, all the books I needed to read for school. To this day, I would rather read than do almost anything else, and save a particularly desired book from the latest trip to library for Sunday evening. And I use Sundays to catch up on whatever letter writing I need to do, and of course ironing shirts for the upcoming week, and possibly taking a few minutes to tidy up the mess on top of the dresser.
In warm weather months, I love to turn off the lights a little early on a Sunday evening and simply listen to the neighbourhood through open windows. You can hear the sounds of children getting in just 5 more minutes before they have to come in. And someone always has a radio or stereo on playing some lovely piece of music. It’s possible sometimes to hear dishes being done, or other household tidying up being done, surprisingly often with a whistling accompaniment – or at least, that was true in my old neighbourhood.
In colder weather months, the fires are lit earlier, the lights come on sooner, the children are just as insistent on five minutes more before coming in, clinging to the weekend as much as possible. Perhaps indoor domestic chores are less visible, less audible when the windows are closed but you can see them being done through half-closed curtains, like you can seen children huddled over books or video games, enjoying the sweeter moments of a childhood Sunday evening.
People who are smarter about stuff than me tell us that Sundays are anxious times for many people. We’ve spent our Saturdays running errands and cleaning house and taking kids to soccer games, and left the laundry and the grocery shopping to Sunday, when we wanted to spend some time playing with the kids and helping them finish their homework and doing some of the work we brought home from the office, and suddenly now it’s time for dinner and where did the day go, and am I ready for Monday, and don’t forget the dog has to go to the vet’s this week and you’ve got a dentist’s appointment, and really, Sunday isn’t such a happy day.
But I know it can be. And so do you. Stop putting the pressure on yourself. Stop running the kids everywhere and getting them involved in every activity except the ones at home where they could make a real contribution to the family & feel better about themselves for doing so. Turn off the television – Disney isn’t on any more – and open the books or break out the board games. Put a whole chicken and a potato for every person in the oven while you sit and talk over a glass of wine with your spouse. Sundays can be delightful if you want them to be… they can be both beginning and ending if you make them so… they can be the stuff upon which wonderful memories are based and new ones are laid.
Enjoy your Sunday evening…