Saturday, 25 August 2012

Mama’s Retreat – getting there isn’t just about leaving the house

Written at the end of day one at the cottage...

It’s 7:18 in the evening and I’m ready for bed. It’s not from a hard day of chasing around my baby toddler. It’s not from working a long day on the job. It’s not from physical exertion or from staying up too late the night before. It’s from fresh air. It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods. It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods, on a lake! It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods, on the lake, without the little one or her father! It’s been the craziest, most marvelous day. Alone.

Please don’t misunderstand, I miss my little girl. There is something to be said however, for taking time for you. And I don’t mean an hour and a half for a yoga class (which I HIGHLY recommend), but true solitude. I won’t deny it’s unnerving, but I certainly won’t pretend it’s not glorious. It took a long time to get here but I’m so glad I did this.

This morning I was starting to doubt that this getaway would even happen. After ensuring I had indeed chosen the proper night to be away and that there was plenty of milk in the fridge, P lost. her. shit. Maybe it’s because she got her shots yesterday, or maybe it’s because she’s a little psychic. But today she clung to me like she knew I was planning to leave her for a whole 18 hours.

She saw me put my things in my back pack, grab a hat, and the bug dope and then refused to let me go.  Literally, she was clinging on like there was no tomorrow. She screamed, she punched, she wailed and she bit. It’s like she saw the yearning in my eyes for the scent of pine and felt the need to protest against my decision to escape to the woods. After two hours of struggling, including a short car ride to get her to pass out for a nap before dropping her at daycare and having to return home to grab the five things I forgot, (in true baby brain fashion, I still forgot my sleeping bag) that’s exactly what I did: escape to a cabin in the woods. 

Problem was I didn’t know what to do with myself once I got here. What to do with a giant lake in front of you, a beautiful old 40s cottage, and a big deck with prime afternoon sun? Or a screened in sun porch overlooking the lake that I would kill to have at home. What’s so hard about that you ask? I knew I had come up here to be alone, to ground and reconnect with myself (and maybe if I was lucky to sleep through the night), but how?

I knew I wanted to write while I was here, but what? Should I sit on the dock and write in my journal about all the craziness that has been happening in my life over the past week/month/year? I could work on that event proposal or get a jump start on the column? Do I do yoga on the deck? Maybe I should go for a swim? Lunch seems like a good idea, and just walking through the woods is a nice possibility. The problem was, there were all these things that I was hoping to do while I was here but it didn’t seem like there were enough hours in the day. So, I started one thing and moved on to another and then the next and 3 hours later realized I was scattered and stressed and honestly, being a little ridiculous.

I also realized that I hadn’t brought nearly enough food to get me through two days. Or, at least I told myself that so I’d have a mission; something to do so I’d stop spinning in circles. I drove into town. The great thing about really small towns is the LCBO is in the same spot as the grocery store *grin*. With some cheese, olives, fruit and bottle of wine, I drove back down the steep lonely lane to the cottage. After yoga, a delicious swim, dinner with a novel (minus the interruptions of a one year old) and a cup of the gods’ nectar I’m finally calm and take in the beauty of the blue sky, ripling waters, rocky shore and bright green foliage that surrounds me.

It takes some work to leave the mama role behind, even if just for one night. I think it might just be the smartest thing a parent can do, take that little bit of time for them. I can wait for kisses and snuggles from my darling girl. The rest of tonight is for me, and tomorrow morning for sunrise, swimming and solitude. And maybe to read and drink a cup of coffee in that sunporch. Because honestly, what good am I to her, if I’m not good to myself?

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