Friday, October 1, 2010

Ravioli vs reality

Last weekend I went out of town for four days.  FOUR glorious carefree days away from my everyday life.  I stayed in a rented beach house right across the street from the ocean.  Uh huh.  Oh ya.  Total bliss dipped in sunny goodness.

Of course I love my family and my life, but I desperately longed for a break from it all.  I was starting to see molecules in the air, my house felt about as big as my refrigerator, and I had visions of shaving off my daughter's hair because I couldn't handle another minute of her screaming like I was pulling out her fingernails before I even touched her rats nest hair with the brush!  Walls closing in, random crying alone in my bedroom, one centimeter left of patience, too many glasses bottles of wine, and a profound inability to feel any inspiration other than taking odd (but admittingly cute) pictures of the backyard squirrels were just a few clues that I needed a change of scenery.

So, me and three other longtime girlfriends (and previous traveling companions) escaped from our very different lives and convened just over three hours up north in a quaint little beach town.  Oh, but not before stopping for lunch at a wonderful restaurant I discovered a few years ago on another girlfriend weekend away for one of my favorite and BEST DISHES EVER CREATED ON THE PLANET.  A total masterpiece in every exquisite fresh and buttery bite. I dream and drool about this dish.  Even the waitress said she would eat this ravioli if she had to request her last meal.  Yep, it's that good.

With my getaway starting off with an unbelievable meal like this, it would be all downhill from there, right?  WRONG!  I had a great time.  I walked on the beach every day collecting shells and sand dollars while bird watching, touching strange spongy rocks covered with sea anemones and starfish, smiling, and washing away my worries with every breath of the cathartic ocean air.
We shopped and ate like tourists, played hilarious board games, drank coffee every morning on the balcony overlooking the ocean, munched on indulgent snacks and sweets that filled the counter and fridge (btw, calories don't count when you are on a girlfriend getaway), talked, laughed, laughed, laughed, watched movies, napped, read, explored neat rock covered beaches, danced, sang, and...let go.  Oh, and I found an old Santa (and my first Mrs. Claus) for my Santa collection at a really neat antique consignment shop that I could've spent hours at exploring all three floors. I didn't wash a single dirty dish (thanks Amy!), or cook a single meal (thanks yummy restaurants and snack foods, especially the chocolate dipped strawberries made by Terri!), or drive anyone anywhere (thanks Christy, our tour guide!).  Totally pampered.

I felt at peace, content, happy, relaxed, and reconnected with my friends and most importantly...with myself.  And above all, thankful for the opportunity, money to afford it, my good friends, and supportive family.
Then...I went home.

I came home to a sick son and having to take care of him while bracing for more sick members of the family.  On Thursday, my daughter barfed in the car, then spiked a fever, and also stayed home from school for two days.  There was a day or so in between fevers and barfing and rinsing noses, but the time feels totally lost and blurry.  With all this comes bickering cranky emotional kids, cooking three meals a day (I make a yummy chicken noodle, though), dirty dishes, bills, homework, being sneezed/barfed/cried/snotted on, etc., etc., etc., and the inevitable virus/cold/whatever-the-heck-it-is waiting to hit me any day now.  Hello reality!  Basically very little time to myself all week.  I'm exhausted from the loud reality of it all.

Can you say the total opposite from my pampered weekend at the beach?

Was my girlfriend getaway a total waste now that I'm home and dealing with all of this and feeling kind of sad and overwhelmed because it seems way more multiplied than normal after a weekend of such zen and fun?  Well, I can look at it a few different ways...

Cruel: Bwaahahahahahaha you dared to steal away to forget your responsibilities and obligations as a mother and wife!  You threw your little universe out of balance by having all that fun, so now you must pay and it's all your fault, you selfish you!

Guilt:  While you were away having all that fun without them, your family needed you and obviously suffered greatly in your absence.  You should be able to have fun at home and be grateful for what you have because your life is pretty good compared to many others suffering and in far worse situations than you.

Life: This is just how life goes.  You need this time away to replenish, rejuvenate, and get centered. To be YOU.  You are no good to your family if you remain depleted and resentful.  Your kids are totally affected by your state of mind, good or bad, and mental health is just as important as exercise and eating fiber.  Embrace the ups and downs of this roller-coaster ride that is called life.

Honestly, I know the real truth is that it's just life; it is what it is.  But those cruel and guilty feelings have a yucky way of creeping into my thoughts.  Lucky for me, I can simply accept that fact and swat that negativity away with happy memories of that magnificent ravioli dish, my hilarious girlfriends, and lots more good times during this and other getaways in my past (and hopefully in my future).  I am so glad I gift myself a true break away from it all once in a while.  After plenty of practice over the years, it's become an important part of who I am and helps me deal with the not-so-fun stuff a little bit better.  It's good to remind myself that it's worth the fallout when I'm feeling drained like I am at this very moment.  Absolutely positively worth it.


  1. I love your outlook, acceptance and love of life! Getting away definately can calm and re-energize the soul. Being in the midst of reality is just life. Isn't it great we get to exeperience it all?!

    Oh... is it ok to be a little envious of your girlfriend get-away? It sounded like an absolute blast! :)

  2. i'm so jealous, not of the amazing weekend (for obvious reasons) but of your ability to keep on writing. i haven't been on in so long - have a bunch of drafts, saved and dusty, but not a lot of courage. the inner critic is pesky and apparently winning. but, i WILL prevail. especially this wknd where i'm doing absolutely nothing. no rocky beach, but welcome nonetheless. love you and our amazing travel companions. strawberries waiting...anytime!