Then Bob's company paid for us to go to Vail for 4 days in September, and it was the most amazing time ever. My parents came out to VA to be with the kids, and Bob and I were away, just ourselves, for the first time since I was pregnant with Jonathan in 2003. I honestly think that weekend away was what allowed me to get through this last school year after being so depressed and numb during the summer. I had no idea that I would be so refreshed by just a little time away where no one needed me, and I didn't have to do anything. It was a gift from God.
Last Saturday, as we were driving home, we stopped to eat dinner with Nathan. After dinner, Bob and the rest of the kids drove home, I dropped Nathan back off at WSS (remember, we left a minivan up there when we were driving out to Ohio the previous weekend) . . . and then I drove off all by myself to town! I met my friend Carri (we were on staff at WSS together back in the glory days, lol, and we've kept up over facebook and even a visit to their house in KY through the years), and we had a lovely little slumber party at the Super 8! She got there about 5 minutes after I did. We started talking, and we kept right on talking. Eventually we turned on the Olympics, but we continued talking. We talked for awhile longer even after we turned out the lights! And we started talking again before we actually got up Sunday morning. In fact, we talked so much that we missed breakfast at the hotel, so we drove over to Denny's. We got there around 9:45 . . . and we stopped talking at 12:00 when we realized we had missed church at the Springs, and we had better get on back there so we didn't miss Sunday dinner!
We both have 10 kids, and we are right there in the middle of the same struggles, with older kids as well as younger kids. It was so nice to just talk about things with someone who knows what I'm feeling, and who just listens. We both feel "done" with homeschooling--but of course we aren't anywhere near done, so we have to just buck up!
We sat at lunch with Christa, another friend from way back who has 8 kids and is also in the same boat. We commiserated about feeling overwhelmed, constantly tired, etc. It was absolutely lovely, and really, so encouraging.
After lunch, people picked up their junior staff kids and left. And then . . . it was pretty much just me, along with all the senior staff, who were having a little end-of-summer retreat/clean the hotel session before they left on Tuesday. See, we knew Nathan needed to get picked up on Tuesday, and I wanted to see Carri Sunday. Bob was the one who suggested that I stay up at WSS all. by. myself. Sunday night through Tuesday, instead of coming home Sunday afternoon and driving back up Tuesday at lunch to pick up Nathan. It sounded pretty extravagant to me, but wow--what an amazing gift! Time to myself!
I went on long, quiet walks. I didn't have to get back to check on anyone! I read. I think I finished 6 books, and none of them were school-related! I rocked on the porch and gazed out at the trees and hills. I made some lists and contemplated some curriculum changes for the girls. I went into town Monday afternoon to use the coffee shop wi-fi so I could catch up on emails, and then I just drove around town, looking at old houses, since I didn't need to be anywhere. It was lovely.
I really am quite introverted, and sometimes it is hard to live with so many people around me all the time. But being able to recharge like this, all by myself, was really a good thing, and it hopefully will put me in a better frame of mind to get through this next school year, another one where I have to do all the admissions stuff, and deal with all the emotions of another kid graduating and heading off.
Sometimes I try to think ahead to when all the kids have graduated, and it will just be peaceful and quiet around me all the time. I know I'll miss the chaos and noise at least a little bit, and at least sometimes--but that's at least 16 years away, so it's hard to even really think too hard about it, lol. In the meantime, I'm especially thankful for these brief little respites, and for a husband who is generous enough to see I need them!