A few years ago my family started a Mother’s Day tradition of gifting me with a night or weekend at the lake, alone. I laughingly refer to myself as an extroverted introvert, but what is more true is that I just pure love people—but I require a significant amount of alone time to recoup (and recover) the energy I expend.
For this Mother’s Day weekend, we’d been planning for months to camp with a group of friends, but life got busy and our kids’ activity calendar filled up. I agonized over missing that camping trip: I knew I’d see pictures of groups of kiddos having a ball outside, or my friends laughing around a fire, and worry that I was depriving my own kids of fun and friendship: the informal and essential community-building which takes place in times like this. Also: it’s unnecessary to say, but the pandemic has been so dang isolating. Also: I don’t like to say “no” to invitations, because there is an insecure voice inside which insists that if I do, I won’t get asked again.
But I needed this time. So I left the kids with my husband and their soccer and church commitments, called my dog, and took it. I filled the lakehouse fridge with the following: frozen pizza, guacamole, yogurt, spinach, cheese, Bubly waters, coffee creamer, and York Peppermint Patties. I read books and magazines, and spent time with my novel manuscript. A dear friend took me on a boat ride, and I fed her supper. I did not look at social media once. Until today, that is.
Did my kids miss out? Yes. Did I miss out? Probably. But my friends are good: there will be more chances for fun this summer. Capturing this necessary time with myself? That is rare.
I am thankful always for my beautiful mom, who taught me how to mother without saying a word. And for my late mother-in-law, who raised such a good man. Sunday was sad and bittersweet without her.