By Serena Davidson

There's a chore wheel hanging in my kitchen. It has bossed us and blessed us for almost twenty years now. The words say Laundry, Kitchen, Living Room, Bathrooms, and FREE DAY. On Free Day, a person doesn't have to do an assigned chore.

It's my Free Day today. I revel in the thought, although the reality is less shiny.

  • 5:30 am My husband calls us to the living room for family prayer. He goes to work; we go back to bed.
  • 7:35 am The alarm clock rings. I silently say my morning inspiration from Psalms: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We each fix our own breakfast: oatmeal, or last night's pizza, or a granola bar on the go. The morning rule is:

    Eat Something. That's it.

  • 8:30 am The house is quiet. I am alone. I wander around, picking up dirty towels, putting a few dishes away, starting a load of jeans. It's my Free Day.
  • 10:00 am I read my Book of Mormon and say my morning prayers. I listen for the answers. The thoughts pour over me sweet, clear, helpful, and hopeful.
  • 10:30 am More chores.
  • 12:30 pm I bless, heat, and eat the leftover lasagna.
  • 12:45 pm Pay a few bills. One of them is a speeding ticket; I deserved it. Thoughtless. Seventy-five bucks, but it could have been worse.
  • 1:00 pm Chat with friends online, a bright spot in my day. Then I sign an online petition concerning a political matter. Now it's time to go to town to buy groceries. The car knows the way.
  • 2:45 pm Hurry home to meet my kids. They come in red-cheeked, breathless, spilling enthusiasm.
  • 4:00-6:00 pm Everyone needs to go everywhere all at once. We get the errands done, then chores, and homework. It's my Free Day. I start supper, which will be pork chops, potatoes and gravy, and applesauce.
  • 6:45 pm My husband walks in the door, smooches me, asks about my day. He hurries to the bedroom to change; he has appointments tonight. The kids are going to Mutual. I do a few dishes. Mary and I watch Cinderella while I crochet an afghan.
  • 9:30 pm The family bursts in ravenous, looking for snacks. Al puts on his Snoopy pajama pants. We settle on the couch and watch a movie before we both fall asleep. I wake us up with an unintended snort. We all laugh.
  • 10:00 pm Time for scripture study and family prayer.
  • 10:20 pm Al and I have our companion prayer. He sets his alarm clock for 4:30 am and we crawl under the covers, joking and talking. Soon he nods off, but I'm still awake.

I think about my Free Day.

It was Free Day, because the chore wheel said it was.

It was Free Day, because I could sleep, wake, pray, work, eat, learn, do, answer for my deeds, speak my mind, buy, create, laugh, love, and live whenever, wherever, and however I wanted.

It was Free Day because I am in the United States. In Idaho. In Iona. Every day is Free Day here.

  • 11:11 pm Magic moment. I smile in the dark and freely fall asleep.