Parenting Timeout: The Parenting Pause That Refreshes
I just got back from a girlfriend getaway weekend with a friend I’ve known since junior high. The agenda for the weekend was simple: to catch up on one another’s lives and to take a temporary time out from the day-to-day worries and responsibilities of motherhood. (She has two teenagers; I have four kids, ages 11 to 21. We've got a lot on our minds.)
We packed the gear we knew we’d need: books, notebooks, cameras, and art supplies (she’s an artist; I’m a writer; and we both share a love of photography); movies about women’s lives (Nine Lives, Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her); all kinds of healthy food; and a couple of bottles of wine.
Mother Nature was definitely on our side. The mosquitoes that had been intolerable all season must have planned a retreat of their own. And the weather was travel-brochure perfect.
The number one item on our itinerary was conversation. We talked while we were making meals, reading on the dock, swimming out to the floating dock, eating dinner on the deck under the trees, and watching movies. We never ran out of things to talk about. How could we? There was so much to talk about. Husbands. Kids. Parents. Siblings. Grandparents. Cousins. Friends. Co-workers. Parenting. Love. Passion. Marriage. Creativity. Politics. Philosophy. Sports. The Environment. Art. Writing. Books. Movies. Travel. Health. Hopes. Dreams. Disappointments. Fears. Roadblocks. Life. Death. Grief. Survival. Renewal. Growth. Celebrations....
We talked about it all.
As our weekend wrapped up, we both felt refreshed and renewed. We’d also gained new insights into our lives, past, present, and future: the paths that had led us to where we were, and the paths we intended to follow during the weeks and months ahead. We vowed to make our getaway an annual event -- a once-a-year investment in our friendship and ourselves.