Marco Island became a retreat center for myself and a few friends last week. They affectionately referred to our vacation as a "fat camp," as my primary attractions tend to be Healthy Body Fitness Center and beach yoga. We sweated and groaned our way through Booty Barre followed by our restaurant exploration for brunch at The Red Rooster. Fresh veges, fruits, omelettes, and even a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread aided our post work-out recovery. Beach yoga was just a few yards from the condo and instructors led us through basic poses in the serene, yet warm (88 degree) setting. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34420-d6439800-Reviews-Healthy_Body_Fitness_Training-Marco_Island_Florida.html
Leaving the kids behind for the girls-only week was challenging. Like many women my friends and I are programmed that childcare, work, family, and overall survival relies on us mothers. Yet I had noticed a trend this winter, I was over-mothering, AKA "nagging." As much as I desire my kids to grow into physically and emotionally mature human beings, this development requires independent thinking, a skill that won't develop if I am constantly instructing, directing, or completing tasks for them; from homework, to house chores, to reminding them when and what to eat; these small details seemed to leave me feeling emotionally drained. Once in Florida, the camaraderie of being with other moms of teens and tweens gave me insight and ease. My struggles were normal and my friends encouraged full venting without judgments. One friend has the gift of perspective and experience with three children, one out of college functioning successfully as a speech therapist, another in college, and the third an 8th grader. My Atlanta friend has wisdom, recognizing as I described my parental role and interactions, that I tend to second-guess myself, our rules, our families' expectations. She encouraged me to create a summer contract with the kids to diminish my tendency to waffle with my decision making. My third friend has a gift for making margaritas....together we realized many of our perceived issues and crisis were simply the result of over-thinking and not enough relaxation!
While my friends visited for only 4 days, I took the leap of faith that my family would survive for 7 days without my eagle eye. I was correct. In addition I was able to spend time alone with my mom, probably the most time we have ever spent together (middle child syndrome!) Sunsets, conversation, magazines, and restaurants...we enjoyed all the moments. As bittersweet as it was to leave, I knew I was coming home on Mother's Day, hopefully to a couple of kids grateful for my return. I was greeted with a beautiful card from Trey as well as a picture collage and facebook tribute from Auburn. In addition,Trey's baseball team was having a special ceremony for the moms following the evening practice. The coach called all the kids together in a huddle for a pep talk prior to each child taking center-stage to describe what attributes make their mother's so special. Remarkably the comments had a similar theme. What mattered most to these boys was the fact they mattered so much to their moms. They expressed appreciation not for the big things, but the little things...doing the laundry, making breakfast, soft-toss pitching, packing lunches, being good listeners. Many of the boys and moms even shed a few tears as we were each awarded a beautiful carnation. Trey's testimony made me laugh as he honestly stated, "I never really knew that my mom did so much until this past week when she left us! Things are so much smoother when she is home." Ah yes, my mission for taking this vacation was accomplished!
The entire week was made even more joyous and exciting with the addition of a new baby. My sister-in-law and brother celebrated their first Mother's Day as parents. Six long years of patience, frustration, disappointment, prayers and surprise led them to sudden elation with the addition of this perfect little guy! Welcome Colton!
Thank you for reading!