How often do you think you just need to get away? To drive away from home, and go somewhere. How often do you feel that you have lost yourself somewhere between the piles of laundry to fold, the dinners to plan, the boogers, the cuts and scrapes, the daily taking care of everything except you? How often do you tell yourself I am going to take a break, go to the spa, get my nails done, spend the weekend with a girlfriend? And how often does it never happen? That was me for the last 3 years. Somewhere in there I realized I was losing big pieces of myself, but there was never the right time to steal away, never the right time to take time for me. And all of the sudden one day, while I was doing all the usual things; making beds, folding laundry, prepping things to make dinner easier, picking up another piece of clothing my dog had chewed, I realized it was time.
I pulled out my calendar, and scrolled through, realizing that there was always some reason it wouldn’t be convenient, but also realizing I had to go. I gave my family 4 days notice. I called and made sure that someone could watch my kids when my spouse couldn’t and I started planning and packing. I worked extra hard in the days leading up, so that my absence wouldn’t be felt as a major inconvenience. I left post it notes reminding my children to do homework, brush teeth, respect their step-parent, put away their clothes, and of course telling them how awesome they were. I washed all their favorite clothes, made their beds one last time, and early on a Saturday morning I got in my car (blissfully car seat free) and drove away.
It took an hour before my shoulders began to relax, and I was breathing easy. It took two hours before I stopped thinking about whether or not I forgot to remind my daughter to take her flute to school on Monday. It took three hours before I finally cranked up the soundtrack to “The Greatest Showman” and was singing at the top of my lungs, and that was when I finally, and truly felt free. There it was the first piece of me that had been carefully stowed away in the box of time, that showed her face. Why had I ever let her go? She was awesome.
But still, as I stopped in new cities, and saw new things, it was like I was on an auto pilot life. But, I sat in coffee shops, and read books, and took as long as I wanted perusing bookshelves. No one told me they were bored, or hungry. No spouse stood by the door, gently reminding me that I was taking a bit longer than they wanted me to. It was heavenly.
And then I woke up on the third morning, after getting the first really great night sleep and something happened. It started like normal, I showered, blow dried my hair, made my bed, washed a few dishes from the night before, and stood by the window looking out at the little town I was in. And then it came, like a dam bursting open, this flood of emotion that I didn’t know I had been repressing. I sobbed, loud, all consuming, grief stricken emotion, I didn’t even know I was carrying with me. I had been so caught up in life, in robotically going day to day, in caring for others, and being the strong-hold of my family, that I had spent the last three years unable to process my own self, or unwilling to. I was so worried about holding it together, and for the first time I truly didn’t need to. I let myself mourn for people lost this past year, for myself lost inside my own family. For twenty minutes I curled up in ball and let it all drain out. And when it was over, I felt lighter, the weight of my own repression had been lifted.
When I rose, I realized somewhere here, in this place, this little town, I had truly found myself again. The me I was before my kids and my spouse, before the house, and added responsibilities. The me I still want to be when those things are gone, or different.
It took three days, a day for every year I hadn’t invested in me. I wish I would have gone before, I lost so much time with myself. And my family lost that carefree person, who has so much more patience, so much more life and energy. So, if you are anything like me, and feel like you are drowning, or have lost a little bit of you in all of the every day, and keep thinking you need to go, just go.
It will never be convenient, the timing will never be perfect. But, trust me, you are so worth it.
Go, Momma, Go.