One of these days, the inevitable may finally dawn on you that vegetating in front of a television is no guarantee for your happiness and health. Or you may just feel social one evening and get this friendly urge to stop by our house for a nice cup of coffee and snacks with a bit of lively, spirited conversation on the side. Whatever the reason might be, I urge you to please check the calendar first before you knock on our door. If ‘x’ marks the spot on Sunday, I suggest that you reconsider.
Please don’t get me wrong. We love company and have been known to be spirited and lively on occasions. It is just that on a Sunday evening, you may find more cheer in a funeral home. As breakfast gives way to lunch and lunch gives way to snacks on Sundays (btw, the hands on my internal clock always read Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Dinner as opposed to the usual 3, 6, 9 and 12 on a regular clock), we, the Sankarans, find ourselves transforming from deliriously happy to decidedly depressed and unlike Cinderella, we manage this without the aid of a chubby godmother and an orange pumpkin. If you ever hear us whimpering, you can bet your next meal (sorry, I don’t take any chances on my meals) that Monday is not too far away.
I have come to call this strange phenomenon the ‘Smile-free Sunday’ syndrome. To us, Fridays are for fun, Saturdays are for snoozing and Sundays are for sadness. With my head held high, I proudly declare here that we beat moaning Myrtle fair and square in the battle of the Whimpering Wimps of the weekend.
Past noon on any given Sunday, my children embrace unhappiness like it is their favorite grandmother. When the clock strikes one and the mouse goes down (Hickory Tickory Tock…helllooooo???), a magic spark goes off somewhere inside the deep, dark recesses of their memory and sets them off in a maddening frenzy around the house in search of homework assignments and projects that, they suddenly remember, were due the previous decade. Thoughts of the many forgotten quizzes, tests and project deadlines lined up for the upcoming week pop up just then to haunt my poor kids to profuse sweating if not premature aging. Beautiful dimples start to dissolve in a quagmire of nerves, fear and despair leading to wobbly lips and fresh tears. All through the evening, you can find them alternatively rubbing their stomachs and foreheads in an effort to dislodge that invisible ball of lead that seems to have not only pitched a tent but also applied for a social security number in there.
Believe it or not, my children are convinced of a supreme cosmic conspiracy that deprives them of precious minutes on a Sunday by making all the clocks in our household tick faster than usual. What sounds like the regular rhythmic tick, tock, tick, tock to me somehow sounds like a super fast, furious bull tearing up a Rodeo field to my children. This is the same conspiracy that, according to them, sends the Sun sliding down the horizon in a hurry on that day. Of course, I know better than to dispute such comic (no typo here) conspiracies.
Usually I am all for keeping the lines of communication open with children but Sundays are the sole exception. I never initiate conversations with my kids past noon on Sundays because they always mistake the slightest movement of my lips to be a special invitation to break down and cry their hearts out. Call me a terrible parent if you want but I am tired of getting my good clothes soaked every Sunday under these sad tears. So much so that I am seriously considering buying myself a special Sunday ki Sunday bib that reads ‘Monday is coming and the Mommy booth is now open for your tears’.
At last we cross the twilight time zone that is between snacks and dinner on Sunday and the crescendo spirals up in a steady rhythm going from sniffling to sobbing to sulking and finally erupts into the inevitable resignation when our clock strikes Dinner. An eerie calm settles down on our home at this time. Trembling lips are bitten down, backbones are straightened, chins are jutted out and the inhabitants of the Sankaran land brace themselves to face whatever monster Monday has in store for them.
As the dinner table is cleared, I take my cue to heave a sigh of relief and go in search of Erma Bombeck’s essays to learn how to smile again until the next smile-free Sunday.
Do you still dare to knock on my door on a Sunday evening? Better yet, can I knock on yours?