It’s Friday night and I always, nowadays, stay in. It wasn’t always this way: in my teens, I’d spend all week looking forward to a concert (Stone Roses in Manchester!) or to the Northern Soul night in Sheffield (there’s nothing exciting about being old enough to get in to such events!).
In my twenties, I’d look forward to nights out with friends: dinners, Gallery openings, book readings, concerts (not the ‘hoping I look old enough to get in’ kind but the ‘so glad I managed to get a ticket to this’ kind). In my thirties, Fridays would mean, most usually, a quiet night in, as a couple, enjoying a film or heading out to something (dinner, cinema, game night) with friends.
Then when I became a Mum, Fridays became no different, really, to any other night of the week: a haze of sleepless nights, just enjoying the pure joy of being a new Mum, so much love in my heart I sometimes couldn’t stand it (I’d never understood the ‘your heart is walking around outside you’ phrase before I became a Mum).
Fast forward a few years and here I am, in my early forties, and I like nothing better than a quiet night in (oh, don’t get me wrong, if I was in England, I’d definitely be at the theatre or at a concert or something else ‘cultural’). But I’m here and my idea of a ‘nice’ Friday night (i.e., absolutely necessary after having a usually hideously frenetic week) is a magazine (books are for the weekend!), the less intellectual, more fashion-oriented the better (Vogue week is always a good week!), something sweet (or hot chocolate and salty popcorn – yum!), quiet music (jazz) and a night of absolute ‘no work – no stress’ bliss.
It starts around 4pm when the littles are both home from school and have been fed: no mean task for a 9-year old footballer who could easily eat half a cow if I let him (!). They’ll both be doing their own activities but they’ll come and ask me for things they need as and when they need them: “Mama, where’s my lego dinosaur’s leg?”, “Mama, will you draw me a unicorn”, “Mama, weren’t you going to make muffins?”…but, even despite these beautiful little life-affirming interruptions, I’ll start to relax….
Knowing there’ll be no phone calls, fewer emails to reply to and much less work to do over the weekend, meaning I can enjoy them, and these moments, that little bit more because I’ll be able to live them that little bit more consciously and mindfully.
Then suddenly, as if no time has passed at all, it’s bedtime. Shower. Clean teeth. Stor(ies). Funny voices. Laughs. Cuddles. Snuggly little bodies hugged and kissed and loved. The biggest little one talking and talking about anything that’s bothering him (why is it that he always leaves everything until he’s dog tired?!). Then, after a while, they’ll both be fast asleep. I won’t settle for half an hour or so afterwards, still checking they’re OK and settling down myself (why is it so hard to relax?!).
Then, eventually, I’ll park myself on the settee, new magazine at the ready and flick through it for a while. This will either make me want to get up and make something or I’ll be too tired and then I’ll end up choosing a film to watch. Nothing upsetting. Nothing too taxing. Something gentle and life-affirming (any suggestions more than welcome! I always love a good film recommendation!).
I don’t like anything too taxing, on my brain or my emotions, on a Friday night. It’s wind-down night. I’ll be thinking of things as I’m relaxing, processing things, letting everything bubble to the surface, reflecting on everything that’s happened in the last week and beyond (whilst trying not to stress myself out thinking of everything there is to do).
If I’m lucky, sleep will come and I’ll start feeling tired in the middle of the film. If it’s a good film I’ll battle the sleep and try to make it to the end. If not, I’ll give in and head off to bed. [I never get the end of those films and always feel bad that I’ve not watched them the whole way through; there’s people’s creative efforts there that I’m ignoring!].
Bed, whenever it makes its appearance, is always welcome. Cool sheets. Turning the pillow over so it’s cool against my skin. Soft soft pillows, silence, lulling me to rest….
I love Friday nights, always have done, always will do (I hope!). There’s something so wonderful about them, isn’t there? You’ve ended one week and there’s two whole days before you have to start the next one. Two days of delightful relaxation and recharging. Love it.
Hoping you all have a great weekend and a great week ahead!
[Post written in response to the prompt for Day 11 of Blog-tember]