September 17, 2010
Sunday: a review
Seven days in the week, and fewer than half are distinguishable among the fray. Monday’s reputation is well known and irrefutable. In fact, today is Monday and I would be remiss in describing it any way other than dreadful. Wednesday’s “Hump Day” moniker, while lending itself to sophomoric elbow prods, is embedded in our collective unconscious as a recurring attainable albeit low-slung goal. Saturday’s starring roles in numerous blockbusters, both film and song, have established its status as frat boy of weekdays. Tuesday and Thursday, seemingly content as the placeholders of the week, come and go all but unnoticed. But one rotation of the Earth remains a day of mystery, a day of ever-changing meaning, content, import and implication: Sunday.
By the time you are forty-six, you will personally experience 2,392 Sundays. Each will essentially begin the same, sun rising in the east, and end identically as well, sun setting in the west. However, every five hundred Sundays or so, elemental changes will take place. Saturday will always precede, and Monday will always follow, but what happens in between runs the gamut.
During childhood, Sunday means church, donuts, cousins, climbing trees in dresses, and day trips to the lake. Brunch is introduced and enthusiastically embraced due to the inclusion of both ham and hollandaise sauce. Sunday is a day to dress up and feel special. There are garden hoses to drink from and football games to overhear on television. Sunday is a celebration. The sun shines brightly on childhood Sundays.
Teenaged Sunday brings the advent of dread and sleep. Sleep through the dread. Dread waking from the sleep. Sunday becomes a day to finish homework and chores, a day to cling desperately to freedom before returning to school. Sunday turns from celebration to obligation. Family, church, even brunch, are all enhanced by the hormonal nuances of dread and sleep. Only the donuts remain the same. Teenaged Sundays overcast, and thunderstorms loom.
As a young adult, on your own in the world, Sunday becomes a weekly ritual of recovery and panic. The inertia of Saturday’s well deserved reputation, piggy-backing Friday’s first-runner-up attempts, leaves you throbbing, dehydrated, shaky and weak. Sunday mornings become invisible, spent under the covers in either remorse or triumph. Sundays now start at noon, and proceed gingerly through nourishment and triage. By dusk, normalcy returns, along with the feint aroma of responsibility. Fog is pervasive, with low visibility.
Motherhood and Sundays appear to the casual onlooker to be in perfect harmony (see Childhood Sunday, above) however, a mother’s Sunday is laundry laden, grocery filled and organizationally oriented. A mother’s Sunday is a countdown, as the one day of the week when every household and nurturing duty must be met, to set the family on the right foot come Monday next. A mother’s Sunday is multi-tasking, yearning tension. Rain is forecast.
Based on observation, Sunday in one’s golden years returns to more agreeable terms. Relaxation and gardening replace more stressful duties. Obligations, remorse and triumphs are pages turned. Brunch once again takes a starring role. Walking, without destination or deadline, becomes appealing, as does talking to strangers and neighbors. The sun returns.
Through this lifecycle of Sundays, the other days of the week remain resolute in their ingrained identities. Mondays continue to deflate the soul, Wednesdays continue to provide the participation trophy, and Saturdays remain unkempt and dangerous. It is only Sunday that we must watch with a vigilant eye, noting the subtle differences in flavor and presentation that indicate who we are, where we are, how far we’ve gone and perhaps how far we have to go. Sunday, not a day to be taken lightly.
(Kim Luke lives on the central coast of California, where she maintains a cautious relationship with every day of the week, including her favorite – Thursday. She can be reached most days at firstname.lastname@example.org)