Before I began my current job teaching college students, I taught twelfth grade English at a relatively small, rural high school. Back then, just like now, I always loved the month of November. It was the stealth month of days off -- Veterans Day, Thanksgiving break, the first day of buck season (I told you it was rural), and then the sweetest gift: an inservice day.
Of course, the bulk of an inservice day is devoted to seminars and meetings, but if you were lucky, there would be a portion of time built into the day where you could simply work in your classroom. By yourself. Without any students.
The bells still rang according to schedule, but nobody was there to file in and out and cause commotion in the hallways. You could arrange the desks into perfectly straight rows, organize a bookshelf, sort through piles of paperwork, update grades, and plan for upcoming lessons without interruption.
It was glorious. The time always was too short, but how remarkable it was to spend an hour in a studentless classroom.
On occasion, I'd like to extend this practice to my house -- to temporarily live there without kids, to marvel at the silence, to clean the kitchen table and have it remain unsplattered by yogurt, and to not wonder why the dishwasher is taped shut, how a half-eaten banana ended up in the middle of the stairs, or why a Strawberry Shortcake figurine, several crayons, and a soggy cracker are in the bathroom sink.
A mommy inservice day. We can fit it into November, right after buck season. And then we can send those kids back in to mess everything up again, right where they belong.