By Gwen Rockwood, syndicated columnist and mama of 3
Today is National Graham Cracker Day. It’s also National Bikini Day and National Apple Turnover Day. These days, there are “national days” for almost everything. For example, July 28th is “National Talk in an Elevator Day.”
According to my research, there are more than 1,500 national days to observe in a single year – everything from talking in an elevator to “National Do a Grouch a Favor Day,” which happens February 16th.
Since it seems easy to get a national day set up, I think we need one called “National Day After a Vacation or Holiday Day.” I like to celebrate and vacation as much as the next person, but I’m nearly worthless when all the hoopla is over.
For years now, people have been realizing how much we need a “vacation from our vacation.” Our generation has made family trips and national holidays less of a “break” and more of a major event. We pack those days full of activity, and we try to cover as many miles and include as many experiences as possible. We have so many “places to go and people to see” that we sometimes lose ourselves in the process.
Along with all the fun comes the pressure to capture all of it in photos and videos. Yesterday was the Fourth of July, and we had a great time with family, friends and neighbors who came by to eat and swim. But last night, as I watched the fireworks shooting up from the center of our cul-de-sac, I realized I hadn’t taken a single picture of any of it. For a second or two, I panicked. If the Fourth of July happens and there’s no photographic evidence, does it make a sound? If there are no selfies to prove otherwise, did it really happen at all?
But then I decided I kind of liked the idea of having a vacation from taking pictures. It felt almost rebellious. Instead of coercing kids to have their fun while looking in the same direction toward the camera, I just watched them run around and laugh and squirt water guns at each other. I snapped a few mental pictures to save just for my own memories. And I think it allowed me to focus on enjoying the day instead of staging a shot.
But here I am on the day after the holiday, and that familiar sense of overwhelm is back. The items on my to-do list seem to have multiplied while my back was turned. But I’m not ready to dive back into productivity and purpose. I need time to wake up from the sugar coma triggered by all those red, white and blue cupcakes. I need to wash all the beach towels from yesterday’s pool full of kids. I need an on-ramp back into regular life – hence the “National Day After” idea.
There shouldn’t be a specific date for “National Day After Day” because it might vary for different people. I might need it on July 5th or December 26th. Someone else might need it on a random Tuesday in October, after she gets back from a trip to Europe. National Day After Day might need to happen several times during the year.
To observe and honor National Day After Day appropriately, I recommend following these steps: Sleep in or take a nap. Showering is optional. Wear pajama pants all day, if desired. Catch up on things that will make the rest of your week go easier. Eat meals that don’t require you to do dishes afterward. Finally, don’t post a single picture of any of it.
Doesn’t National Day After Day sound incredible? If we could somehow turn it into a legitimate day off work and an excuse to eat more cupcakes, it would be just about perfect. Happy Day After Day!
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.