Filling my cup

It's not fair. What I am about to show you isn't fair and I know it. But I am gonna justify it by saying, yes, goodness and sunshine have been poured down on me in the last two weeks, but getting away by myself without Hubs or Children hasn't happened since before he and I got married. Ten years ago. So, even though I am very grateful, I gotta say, I think I earned it.

What exactly did I earn? I attended an lovely retreat in Florida with 120 mothers parenting kids from hard backgrounds. Comprised mostly of adoptive and/or foster mothers, it was refreshing and eye opening to be among such a diverse and yet eerily similar group. Every person there had a child or multiple children with trauma in their pasts, and many mamas there had children with more letters (diagnoses) after their name than the therapists who were trying to help the children. Many of the mothers there are in therapy themselves from secondary trauma from parenting children with trauma. It was a strong group of warrior women. It was humbling to be immersed in all the sharing. Some of us contribute writing and if you are a Mama with children experiencing significant attachment or trauma related issues, you might find comfort and support here: BeTA (Beyond Trauma and Attachment).

During the four days on this retreat I slept. I read three books, I sat in a hot tub and laughed. I attended a group on Trauma Release Exercises, on unschooling, I ran  walked/jogged a 5K
IMG_5153 edited for blog

I led daily yoga practice

I met some amazing women.



It was just what my internal soul doctor ordered. My depleted emotional resources were restored. I experienced the perfect cocktail of quiet me-time with zero people screaming at me, and meeting new people and being heard and understood by complete strangers. I was actually lucky enough to know a few ladies in real life before I went. This friend, J, above with me: we have known each other for more than three years, and we had never been in a room alone without our children yammering/yelling at us. We'd never had a girl conversation, uninterrupted. Going together to this retreat was a dream come true.

So, then, after I had a few days of stillness and empowerment, Hubs decided to piggy back on my sudden desperation willingness to get out of dodge and semi-surprised me with a second weekend away. We went to Puerto Rico, and we had just as much fun as we did on our honeymoon ten years ago.


That's right, we celebrated our tenth anniversary a few weeks early and went away together for the first time since having kiddos. (Not including going to Ethiopia because those trips involved adding three children to our family and as such do not count as "get-aways.")

The hotels were wonderful. Hubs travels a lot and so we have hotel points (a tough work schedule has this outstanding side bonus), and one night we stayed at place that was so over the top they assign you a butler when you arrive and want to feed you from a spoon lest you weary your wrist eating.  We were worried they might actually want to diaper us and change us so we would not have to go through the tiresome commitment of normal people of getting up from a lounge chair to pee.


You could tell we were not fitting in by our awkward gawking and every three seconds leaning over to whisper to each other  Ohmygosh can you believe this, this is SO messed up that is how good it is! 

We also outed ourselves as borderline trespassers by bringing in our own chips and salsa from the grocery store to the pool and we thought the wait staff that regularly visits people lounging to bring them all manner of $30 chips and salsa was going to have a fit.


We swam and body surfed on a private beach near Rio Grande. I am a huge sissy about cold water, and I gotta say, though not as clear and aqua as other Caribbean locations we've visited, Puerto Rico really delivered up some amazing seas with a No Shiver Factor.

We hiked waterfalls in a rain forest.


We ate one of the most exquisite meals of our life in Old San Juan at Marmalade. (The Banana Butterscotch Bread Pudding is pictured here out of every part of the meal that I photographed because it was perhaps the best dessert I've ever eaten. I know it might sound silly, but this thing was to-die-for.)


All in, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I am grateful for Hubs, who planned the entire vacation and I showed up with a swim suit and a few books. For my mom and mother-in-law, who held down the fort while I was off  galavanting. (FYI, galavanting is not recognized by spell check.) For the little people in my life, though some of them are exacting payment for my absence in the form of clingy screaming behavior this week. It's okay, because I had sunshine. I can handle the storm.

I came home to this unsinkable crew, Mimi, Fikir, Tsega, Cookie, Brady, Samantha, Mama B and Baby H.

I was proud of myself for facing serious fears and leaving. I was proud of myself for taking some time to make sure I could be a sane, effective, fun mother. I am proud I set an example to all the girls that it's okay to be a person, a wife, a friend, in addition to being a mother. My cup runneth over. And maybe, in a year or three, when it is getting dry, I will be brave enough to go again.



Brett Stevens said...

So I glad I got a chance to meet you in Orlando and I am totally jealous of you trip!

Jessica Maruri said...

So perfect and so deserved! How wonderful that you got both time to yourself AND time with Hubs by yourselves. And now the children will see that you can leave and still come back. Well done!

Jessica said...

Congrats to you for letting yourself go. :)

Now, I MUST know where you got that shirt in the pic with Hubs!!!

Jessica said...

Well that didn't come out right at all...

Let me rephrase that.

Congrats to facing your fears and taking the time to recharge. ;)

scooping it up said...

Jessica - it is about three years old from Boden! I love it but it'd be tough to find now. Maybe they have an equivalent?

Jessica said...

I knew you were going to say that! :(

Meg said...

Yes you definitely do deserve it. You probably are the most engaged, dedicated mother I know. I'm glad you were able to get some "you"-time and fill up your cup. That waterfall and forest look magical!

roztime said...

Very awesome!!! You most definitely deserved the breaks, and ten years is most definitely worth celebrating.

I like the part about role modelling to your kids what healthy self care looks like. Amen.