Hannah was just two years old when I had the amazing discovery that my office closes for Good Friday, but her home-based daycare did not. I can't remember the details of how I passed that particular day off, but I was likely packing to move from our condo in Brookline to our new house in Newton. Regardless, knowing that there was a day like that - daycare open, work closed, for a reason that didn't apply to me - was such a miraculous thing that I eagerly anticipated the next Good Friday for the coming year and many of them since then.
And you know what happens with all of that anticipation? Yes, you set yourself up for a tremendous letdown when all doesn't go according to plan. The extra special hitch in the plans for three year old Hannah's Good Friday was that I had signed her up to Shabbat Helper. I'm sure you can imagine the giddiness involved in it fiiiiiiinally being her special day to lead the class in their sacred Friday morning rituals, especially when you have no concept of time and it's been approximately forever since it was your last turn to be the leader. I was thrilled to get to enjoy this special time with her, and then leave her happily ensconced in school while I fiiiiiiinally got the alone time I'd been craving too.
All of that build up? Leads to a major case of pink eye when Hannah awoke that morning, of course. I honestly can't remember who cried more over the disappointment of that particular day.
You'd think that would have taught me a lesson - to not put so much expectation into one day - but I still can't help myself. There have been a few of these magical times over the years, including a couple of vacation days taken on purpose so that I can get things done - or not - while the kids have been in school or daycare. But using my own vacation time is less than ideal since that runs at a premium as it is, covering all of the days off that the kids have that I don't. Plus, the office continues on without you when you take a vacation day, and I've surely experienced moments when the vacation day wasn't worth the being put behind in your work upon returning. Having a closed office is really the key to how special these days are.
With this being our last week of daycare, it's unlikely I'll have many of these days in the future, but I will always be on the lookout for these mythical unicorn days. And if you haven't looked through the school calendar yet to find a unicorn of your own, go do it now.