Monday, November 15, 2010

How far must we go to find renewal?

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go away for four days.  Yes, four days.  All by myself.  I went to visit a friend from college who is 33 weeks pregnant with her first baby.  She doesn’t many friends who already have kids, so I was thrilled to get to visit her for some ‘mommy boot camp’.  For four days, I wanted to be able to be a voice to commiserate and rejoice over the experiences of pregnancy and help in anyway to prepare for the upcoming birth.  Another friend from college came out at the same time.  It was wonderful.

Well, actually, it wasn’t wonderful at first.  I met my friends at the airport.  (Did I mention she lives in sunny Las Vegas?  Yea, bonus.)  We grabbed a bite to eat, and headed back to the expectant mother’s home before heading out for spa appointments.  Still sounding wonderful, yes?  At this point it was mid-afternoon Las Vegas time, and I had been up since 3am east coast time (and really hadn’t slept much before that with the kid waking up routine).  I was exhausted.  The kids have been waking up a lot lately.  Sleep has been scarce.  I’m not sure I realized how exhausted I was.  I began to feel queasy, and then downright sick, and it all culminated with me throwing up in the casino bathroom before even making it to the spa.

Expectant mama’s husband generously came and retrieved me.  I went back to their house and went to sleep.  I slept for 16 hours.  I slept, and I slept.  Oh how I slept.  It was glorious.  I woke up feeling like a human being again.  Though by 8pm, the next night I was feeling similar and quickly headed to bed for another twelve hours of sleep.  My body was telling me something serious.  My husband laughed that I needed to fly to Vegas to catch up on sleep, but I did.  It makes you really think about what we  put our bodies through and at what lengths do we need to go to get the rest we need (and are we willing to go to those lengths).

Besides, all of that, I had a wonderful time.  I spent the better part of a day getting a spa pedicure complete with my own personal wine and cheese platter, and then relaxing at the spa rotating between the sauna, the hot tubs, the cool plunge pool, and steam room with a friend from college I hadn’t caught up with in almost a year.  She lives in Washington, D.C.  I live in New Jersey.  We had to fly to Vegas to catch up.  Again, at what lengths must we go and are we willing to go there? 

But together, we relaxed.  We shared stories - the joys and the challenges of life.  We asked questions, ya know the kind you ask when you’re lounging by the jaccuzi at a spa in Las Vegas.  What are your hopes and dreams?  Is life what you thought it would be 10 years ago?  How is that good or bad?  And of course, if you had a superpower, which one would it be?

We both felt a sense of relaxation that I’m not sure we knew how to find in the context of our lives.  In those hours, I felt capable of balance.  But it’s easy to feel balanced and refreshed in that setting.  How can we create and make time for those experiences in our daily lives without flying to Las Vegas?  How can we carry that elusive sense of renewal and balance back to our daily life?

And finally, I spent wonderful time with my friend, the expectant mother.  We shopped and talked.  We oohed and aahed over baby clothes.  I showed her how to use a breast pump and how to install a car seat.  We talked about her hopes and wishes for labor and birth and began to write a birth plan.  We shared how the experience of pregnancy is so hard to translate to someone who hasn’t experienced it, and we laughed about all those strange things co-workers and strangers do or say that they somehow think is appropriate just because you are growing a baby.  I hope it helped her to feel welcomed into the community of motherhood and to feel supported and empowered in her ability to birth and mother despite her feelings of cluelessness. 

And now, I return home refreshed - physically, emotionally, and spirtually.  I am filled with gratitude for good friends, good sleep, and an amazing support system at home that allowed me to take this trip.  I am commited to hanging onto this feeling and ensuring that it carries over in positive ways to my husband, my children, and my home.  And I am also very seriously considering the questions of what lengths must we go to nurture and renew ourselves.  In what ways can we intentionally practice rest, renewal, and relaxation more regularly so that we don’t have to go to such great lengths?  What things do you to do that fill you up physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually?  What things do you to protect yourself from getting completely depleted physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually?

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion, mothers DO NOT get enough opportunities to refresh and renew themselves. I haven't had a chance to be alone in quite some time. After the babies have weaned, I am hoping to get some of that time back. So glad you had fun!!


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