There is a difference.
Getting away, for this gal, has been a solo affair. Or in this case, as solo as it gets with a baby-toddler (boddler? taby? babeler?) and a fur-baby. I took off without Tim for my childhood home for the better part of two weeks. The first part my parents took care of me and the last part I took care of my parents after my mom had surgery. Tim did not join for the most part. He stayed and nursed the PhD baby and his full-time job.
Getting away taught me one very important, oatmeal heart lesson. The world doesn't, in fact, need me to keep going. SHOCKER! I'm not writing this in a hang my head and crawl into a closet and eat Oreos kind of way. It's actually quite beautiful and freeing. It's okay to step back. The world won't end. Someone else can send the house church emails. Someone else can teach the kids at church. It's okay for Tim to eat frozen food for a week. My neighbors don't need me to check in on them this week. God will provide for the boys at Victory Project. There is always something that we feel we can't let go of because what if no one else will do it!!! But the beautiful thing? These things, people, ministries, projects? They are God's first. By His grace, He gave them to me to take part in. They were never mine to begin with. God doesn't need me to do His thing in Dayton. I don't have to be God. There are times when He needs us to trust Him enough to give our roles back to Him. Maybe just to see how He is the one accomplishing all the work anyway.
During the first part week, I was able to do a lot of self-care that it just really hard to find time for these days: working out, long study sessions in the Word, going to bed early, and generally having less responsibilities and more hands to hold my babeler/boddler/taby boy. My mom even sent me to get my nails done one day!
Especially for mamas who feel particularly worn out, can I suggest you get away? Even for an hour? It may restore some joy you've been missing in this crazy awesome mothering gig!
Getting away is also good for my marriage. I don't think this has to be a week apart. It could be a girl's night out or an hour for me at the gym by myself while Tim stays with Titus. It's good to have space and miss each other now and again. It can be a purposeful time apart to evaluate how we're doing and to remember why we are better together than apart.
Mid-week, my parents graciously offered to watch Titus overnight so Tim and I could meet in Columbus for a get-away. We splurged on a fancy-pants hotel that has room service, because HELLO! Breakfast in bed! We gorged ourselves on Indian food and then decided to look for some lava cake and ice cream because I'd been craving it for a month. By an act of God, it was on the order up menu. There was a lot of laying around in our jammies playing Colorku and watching HGTV and not going anywhere because life lately has just been too heavy, too fast, and too scheduled.
My friends, especially my friends with kids, you do really need this. I don't care where. I don't care how much it costs. I don't care how many reasons you come up with not to. I will watch your kids. I will look up the hotels for you. Just make an escape. Just for one night. Getaway together. And for the love, order the lava cake.
This past summer I had a chat with a sixty-something beauty from our church who is in the stage of life of just enjoying her grandbabies and giving her time volunteering with the kiddos at church and the Women's Center of Dayton. She is radiant, joyful, and peaceful. She was kind enough to take interest in me and my then very small baby boy. I asked her what her advice would be to a young mom. She said, "Invest in your marriage. They will be gone some day and your love for each other will teach them more about life than your every day parenting decisions." I believe her. Her marriage is thriving and so are her adult children.
But marriage is kind of a war, yes? It is so much work and I have no energy to give to another person after a day of chasing kids. We have so many other things to do, places to be, people to serve, dissertations to write, cars to fix, dishes to do, blog posts to write, and the list goes on and on and on and on.
I suppose there will always be something else to do or someone else to invest in besides one another.
And so I call bullshit.
There is no other time. There is no better thing. It all can wait but you should never put your spouse on hold. So get a date on the calendar and revisit the covenant you made to one another before God and love each other like Jesus loves you.
Our next getaway? Hawaii! For our sixth birthdayversary this August. Pina coladas, adventure, and sunshine here we come!
Getting away and getaways. Priorities. Lava cake. Luaus.
Timothy John Vincent. My Mister. My Love.