Living in Chicago for forty-plus years has taught me a thing or two about embracing the seasons — particularly that magical moment when winter begins to open up into spring. After months of huddling indoors, we Chicago residents gloriously cast off our layers once the thermometer touches the 60-degree mark. Droves of frolickers crowd the paths along Lake Michigan, zoos are overrun, and playgrounds start busting at the seams. The burst of energy derives from the wisdom of experience — from knowing how fickle springtime is in Chicago and how very unwise it is to put away one’s snow boots until mid-April at least.
The carpe diem spirit that comes with the spring can be a glorious thing, full of possibility and joy and long-awaited plans. But with it can also be found a shadow side of stinginess, a desperate clinging to the opportunities that come with fine weather and a determination to pursue one’s own vision of a perfect spring day at all costs.
In this month’s Day of Rest story, Martin and Sylvia’s family experiences this sense of playful urgency that comes after a changeable spring. After an April filled with plans made and deferred, the family arrives at May with a sense of resolve within each individual. But when it comes to pass that these visions of restful bliss are incompatible with each other, what is to be done?
Daddy’s sleep fairies give him the hint that begins to turn that spirit of grasping into one of generosity. Through awareness, compassion, and trust, the family is gently led into a place where their hopes are fulfilled — although not always quite in the way that is expected.
Might your family be looking for ways to involve the wisdom of the fairies in your own day of rest habits?
Here are a few ways to get started:
Discover your own dreams. Spend some time talking as a family about the visions you have for this season. What activities would you like to do? What will restore you, both individually and as a family unit? Pop some popcorn and plan some relaxed time to brainstorm, making sure to leave enough space to hear from each individual as you take notes on these precious dreams.
Sleep on it. When Martin and Sylvia’s family found themselves at an impasse, they took a little break to let emotions simmer down and ideas bubble up. Unbelievable as it may seem, the sleep fairies can work the magic very effectively through those subconscious hours. The wisdom of this technique was even embraced by Albert Einstein as a way to solve difficult problems.
Model generosity. Daddy’s practical action of preparing tea for Momma kicked off the fairy magic — and Sylvia noticed immediately. Even if you think they aren’t watching, your children are studying you quite carefully. Serving another person in a family through a selfless fairy gift (even a small one) can be a truly magical way to breathe a gust of generosity into your family culture.
Engage in playfulness. The care that Daddy took to write a tiny note for Momma from the fairies took just a moment, but it captivated Sylvia’s attention and sparked her imagination. Looking for ways to imbue your service with whimsical details will inspire others — and make the task more fun for you, as well!
Allow your family to serve you. Although Momma and Daddy did their fair share of giving, they also embraced the receiving element of this day. Notice and express gratitude for those little ways that your family might be listening to your own desires for rest — and receive them graciously. It may not be perfect, but it’s the heart that counts.
Listen for ideas from the fairies that promote your own rest, too. Who knows? Maybe the fairies will have prompted you to prepare a little gift for yourself in advance that can be revealed on your day of rest — a special book you’ve been wanting to read, a freshly cleaned bicycle ready for a ride, or a coupon for a family lunch at a favorite diner. With the sleep fairies, anything is possible!
Listen to the first free story HERE and read more about getting started with a Day of Rest.
Read the April Day of Rest Tips HERE.
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About the Author
Ann is a writer, editor, homeschooling mother, voracious reader, full-fat baker, and musician. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters and chronicles the journey at Boyds’ Nest News.