My sister-in-law is a new mother to a sweet 10 week old lil peanut and she was recently able to steal away with her mom and sister to see a Broadway show, making it the first time she was apart from her new love. My brother did great flying solo, btw, but when she was reunited with le bebe, I just happened to be with them. I made the comment, “It feels great to have a break, and it feels great to come back to your babies,” and if this doesn’t epitomize the tension of love that is motherhood, I dunno what does.
Last week I was also able to get away and visit my own sister for four whole days. It’d been about a year and half since I was able to travel for that many days alone (see also: pregnancy and breastfeeding) and let me tell ya, it wasn’t without a little bit of hassle, but it was WORTH IT. Generally, I don’t love to fly, but once you’ve flown with your kids (even if the experience was relatively stress-free), every flight alone is one to be cherished! I wasn’t rushed, I was actually able to get some reading done, and I ordered a coffee during the flight. Can you even imagine getting a piping hot cup while balancing a toddler? It was near luxury and it was in no way lost on this mama.
The visit with my sister’s family was a good one, time spent doing the normal things of their days, but with an extra Auntie tagging along 😉 I was also able to attend a weekend women’s retreat with the lovely ladies from her church and despite fighting some annoying spring allergies, I actually found rest! Being able to sit in the warm sunshine, with my Bible and journal and pencil nestled in my lap, I actually felt my shoulders relaxing. My gaze went beyond the shimmering lake sprawling in front of me and curiously searched the treeline for wildlife. Occasionally I would scribble out a prayer and then just wait. To be still, like this, and to listen for the voice of the Spirit -without haste or agenda- was the true luxury.
The mother is the one creature who was made to be a vessel unlike any other. Literally, we give our whole selves over to allow our children, in their most vulnerable and helpless state, to peacefully abide within us as they grow. And then one day, they come out into the daylight and we are forever giving of ourselves to them, in a million ways of time, of energy, of emotion, of mental gymnastics, of money and touch and spoken word and warm bread and hours under the moonlight. This is right and good and it is an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility. It is also one that requires sabbath- a time to pull away, even for a moment, and rest the body, the mind, and the heart.
It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.
—C. S. Lewis
Lewis so aptly describes the way our days will totally overrun us if we let them. This is not a Three Steps to a Peaceful Life type of post, but more of a You are Allowed to Take a Break, Mama! type of post. Because you are. Whether you are in the stage of life that allows for an afternoon to get dressed up and see go see amazing musical theater or gives way for a half-week of respite; or maybe its an hour-long bubble bath with doors locked and your favorite songs on repeat; perhaps you can fly across an ocean to dance the night away with your best friend– whatever season you are in as a mother, know that it is good to find those moments to be rejuvenated. And remember that in every kind of day we are living, in every minute, we are being invited to “come in out of the wind” and say,
(S)he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!” Ps. 91:1-2