But not quite yet, I have the Fourth of July weekend off!
My family and I returned from a wonderful six-day vacation in the Wenatchee Nathional Forest. After twenty-five years, I returned to Holden Village, a community/family camp owned by the Lutheran Church. As a teen, I went to Holden with one of my childhood best friends and her family for two summer vacations, each time for a week-long stay. Those weeks were great gifts to me as a child. And, this trip with my husband and two sons was no exception. There is something unique about the sense of community and purpose at Holden, as well as the rest and relaxation that happens as a result of being there.
To reach this wonderful spot, we took a four-hour boat ride up Lake Chelan and then a 45-minute school bus ride into the national forest where the community, a former mining camp, is located. Yes, this place is remote, — with a capital R — and that is what is so wonderful!
I’m still processing my time there…thinking about how I loved seeing our older son stretch his sense of self (he told us on the first night that he was old enough to run around on his own –we disagreed but by the end of our stay we began to allow him many liberties that we can’t allow within the city where we live). I loved witnessing our younger son as he relished in the fun of throwing rocks into the river. And seeing my husband embrace the creativity of the community was wonderful.
As a mother, I learned a few more things about how I want to mother my kids. Because I was away from work, away from our house and away from e-mail, Facebook and my beloved blog, and because I was nursing a bad back, I had a lot more time to observe. I found myself watching the other mothers around me. Their faces, their posture, the way they interacted with their kids. Most were examples of the way I strive to mother my kids – showering them with love and building confidence. Creating learning moments. Embracing spontaneity.
And, among the amazing women I met, there were also two moms who served as examples of mothering that didn’t come from a “happy place” for lack of a better term. Like me, they were in a beautiful setting, with their families, eating food they didn’t have to prepare, staying in rustic lodges they didn’t have to clean. For most modern mamas, including me, this is a jackpot! But I never saw either of these women smile. On more than one occasion, I witnessed both of them speaking very sternly with their kids, shaking an angry finger in their faces. Don’t get me wrong, I get stern and grumpy and mean myself. But watching it from the other side, from a place of peace and with perspective gave me a valuable reminder of what is really important, and what I can choose to let go of as a mother.
I asked myself: What face do others see when they observe me interacting with my kids? How do I see myself when I interact with them? And, most importantly, what lasting impression am I leaving on these two amazing boys? I hope to carry these questions with me as I transition to mothering back in reality, where there are dishes and laundry, a job in corporate America. And where there are two sweet boys and a loving husband who need that mama who enjoys every moment.
Yes, once again we came away from Holden with great gifts indeed.
Image courtesy of stock.xchng