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Sometimes All You Can Do Is Retreat

We had a hard week here last week: we had to say farewell to a beloved family pet on Friday, as well as face the first anniversary of the death of a very dear friend of mine and Brian’s. Friday night Brian and I did a concert we’ve been working on for almost a year, and at the end of the evening we were exhausted. I looked at the girls, running and happy with friends when just a couple hours before they’d been sobbing about our pet, and knew that Saturday was going to be hard.

So I cancelled the weekend. All of it.

I called the riding stables and told them we wouldn’t be in for lessons Saturday morning. I canceled Brian and I’s date night plans on Saturday night. And as we went to bed Friday evening I told the girls we were having a Family Day on Saturday, and they should sleep as late as they wanted. “You can eat sugar cereal on Saturday if you want, and watch cartoons, and play outside in your pjs. We’re going to try to make Saturday a ‘yes’ day.”

Saturday morning when I awoke my first thought was for the ball of fur that was missing from my side. I rolled over, already crying, and saw sitting next to my table a breakfast tray. Maddie had been up early, made me breakfast, and sneaked it into the room. Next to the tray was a homemade card that began, “To a very special Mommy –“

I wept some more.

Cora slept until 10 a.m. We all stayed quiet all day. Both girls read books; I puttered in the kitchen; Brian and the girls played video games; we played volleyball in the house with a beach ball; the girls painted; we watched a lot of cartoons.

It was perfect.

Craving some junk food, we decided to make caramel corn. And eat most of it. We made pizza for dinner and watched a movie together. The girls helped me in the kitchen, and laughed and played together. They were never far from a grown-up, and while they weren’t clingy, they weren’t their usual rambunctious selves.

It wasn’t a typical Pajama Day, replete with craziness and fun. It was a toned-down version, with lots of snuggles and silent space and time to just unwind.

We really, really needed it. Time to lick our wounds, and rest up, and not get hurt any more.

Sunday we finally ventured out, heading to church for some great healing time. But then we headed right back home and began puttering and playing again. By Sunday evening we felt up for a bike ride and brief soccer game, and approached the start of the school week with some sort of normalcy.

This past weekend was our last relatively unscheduled weekend until school gets out, believe it or not, and Someone must have really known we’d need it. Having that time to retreat with my family has made all the difference to me – not having to plow ahead and ignore what was going on inside gave me time to take a breath, count my blessings, and get ready to move on.

Thank you, God, for weekends like this last one.


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