This is happening right now, in my house, to me, in real time:
Child: Ima. Can I stay home from school today?
Me: Sigh. Why? Are you sick?
Child: No. I just—can I just please stay home?
My instinct is to roll my eyes a little bit and then take a deep breath and say brightly, “Come on! Get up! You don’t want to miss school today; it’s going to be a great day!”
But instead, I pause.
When I was in high school, every once in a while, instead of heading to school, I would meet my best friend at the train station, and we would go to our favorite place in the whole world: a huge, two-story bookstore that also sold coffee. Books and coffee. Oh, and comfy couches. Books, coffee, comfy couches. The triumvirate of amazingness.
We would stay all day, drinking coffee while curled up on the comfy couches, browsing through stacks of books. Sometimes my throat would actually hurt from not using it to speak to anyone for so many hours. I know people who would consider this semi-solitary activity akin to a prison sentence, but for bookworm-introverts like my friend and me, who enjoy being with people but not, like, all the time, our day off was amazingly restorative.