A lifetime ago, I was a nanny. For eight years, I would spend my summers with another family, a family I loved as if they were my own. I’d arrive just before breakfast and leave just after dinner, five or six days per week. I spent my days immersed in the land of childhood. We’d read books, play games, make art, spend time in nature, have dance parties, and get lost in imagination.
We had fun.
I often think about the difference between nanny-me and mom-me. Nowadays, we do many of the same things, but nanny-me was way more fun.
The mom in me understands why I was more fun back then. I was younger. My nights were my own and I could sleep uninterrupted. While I loved those kids with all my heart, I was not their mother. I was free of mom worry. I wasn’t managing a household. My mind was not filled with to-do lists. I was not charged with raising those little people into kind, confident, responsible humans.
Of course I was more fun back then!
And I am capable of being pretty fun now, too. Still, the mom in me wishes the nanny-me could stop by and visit every now and again, just to lighten things up and live a little.
Live a Little with ‘Yes Day’
A few weeks ago, my friend told me about the book Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (thanks, Deb!). One of the kindergarten classes in our town read it at the end of the school year. The book features a little boy who is over-the-moon excited about the best day of the year: Yes Day, a day when his mom says yes to silly and outrageous requests. From pizza for breakfast to staying up late, in the little boy’s world Yes Day is the best day.
The other day, I got my hands on a copy of Yes Day and read it aloud to my children for our morning coffee and books. As I read, I watched my children’s little jaws drop. They were engrossed in the fantastic tale. As soon as I was finished, they asked to read it again.
When I finally closed the book’s covers, they were silent.
Silence rarely happens around here.
I asked them if they would like to have a Yes Day.
I bet you can guess their enthusiastic response.
Yes Day Ground Rules
First, I asked the kids to come up with some ground rules together. This is what they decided:
- No one would make dangerous requests
- All kids needed to agree on requests
- Car rides will be less than 30 minutes in length
- All requests needed to be for this day only
- Each kid can request one $10 purchase
I thought these rules were reasonable. I asked them when our Yes Day should be and they asked if it could start immediately.
I bet you can guess my enthusiastic response.
Our Yes Day
I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what to expect. I entered Yes Day with a bit of trepidation, only because we were battling an epic Hangover from Fun having returned from vacation two days prior. Still, nanny-me told mom-me to go for it. And so I did.
Yes Day was oodles of fun… for the children and for mom!
The entire thing was adorable, from beginning to end. I loved listening to their little brainstorming sessions. I loved the camaraderie. I loved their enthusiasm. I loved their joy. And they didn’t ask for anything crazy, although maybe they will next year, after having one Yes Day under their belts. We had so much fun that we decided it will be an annual event.
This is how we spent our Yes Day:
- We started off our day with a trip to Michael’s. I gave each child $10 and they spent over an hour making very important decisions about purchases. We left the store armed with silly string, Beanie Boos, water balloons, and a bow and arrow.
- From Michael’s, we went to the kids’ favorite diner, where they enjoyed pancakes, sausage, and bacon!
- Then, we went to the local movie theater to see Finding Dory. I was finally able to use the gift card that my oldest won from the library summer reading raffle three years ago. As you may recall, he was terrified of television until the last year-plus. Folks, we finally went to a movie!
- Next, we went to the library where the kids checked out their weight in delicious books.
- Then, we were supposed to go swimming but a thunderstorm squelched those plans. The kids did not let a little thunder ruin Yes Day. They opted to work on paint by numbers. We started the art indoors and then, once the storm had passed, we took the art outside.
- And then it was time to use all those fantastic goodies they had acquired during their trip to Michael’s. The kids enjoyed a water balloon fight.
- Of course, there were giant bubbles.
- Then, we had a dinner picnic in the backyard.
- Finally, it was time for one of our beloved Book Paloozas. We gathered all the library books, climbed in bed, and read for an hour.
- The kids were determined to stay up past 8:30 (they are so wild!), but I don’t think anyone made it past 8:26!
Yes Day was worth it!
Yes Day was a day we won’t soon forget. In fact, I’m planning to make it an annual event. It was a wonderful way to clear the schedule, live in the moment, embrace childhood, and be present.