The Sound of Silence

I scooted away this weekend on a getaway with my husband. This was big because it was the first time we had gone away together in 3 1/2 years. Yes, you read that correctly. We are fortunate to have a village around us, and my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and my mom shared the responsibilities of taking care of our little ones. Preparing for this trip was exhausting. I spent the week before shopping for groceries, doing laundry, getting the house ready, and writing 7 pages of notes that my wonderful sister-in-law graciously went over with me. Yes, you read that correctly too.  It felt like a strange time to take a trip given the fact that Houston is still reeling from the effects of Harvey. Life all of a sudden feels very fragile, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to leave. However, I knew how important it was for us as a couple to do it, so off we went.

It felt strange to walk around the airport carrying a bag that wasn’t filled with diapers, wipes, toys, snacks, and who knows what else. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something. The lightness (literally and figuratively) was an unfamiliar feeling. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being a mother now, and I had forgotten what it was like to just pack for me. My husband and I talked for the entire 2 hour flight. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We haven’t spent uninterrupted time talking like that in 3 1/2 years. It was wonderful.

We spent the weekend in Colorado Springs and spent much of our time in awe of those majestic mountains. Mountains have always felt very spiritual to me, and this time their silence stopped me in my tracks. Silence–also an unfamiliar thing in my life. However, it was glorious. It was peaceful, centering, and even a little bit emotional. Its impact made me realize how important it is for me to recreate this somehow in my daily life. Quite the challenge I know, because if I’m not answering my daughter’s questions about why the song we are listening to is called “Mr. Golden Sun” (because it’s about a sun) or reminding my son for the hundredth time to put his bottom in the chair, then I’m answering emails, returning phone calls, scheduling appointments, making lists, watching the news, or scrolling through social media. Life is loud. Silence for sure is not a part of my life and it needs to be.  So, I think I will take a baby step and take 5 quiet minutes to myself each day after I put everyone down for a nap. 5 minutes to just center myself in silence. I didn’t realize until this weekend how important that is.

The time with my husband was incredibly rejuvenating too.  The luxuries of finishing conversations, following our own schedule, and removing ourselves from the day to day responsibilities were huge. Husbands unfortunately sometimes fall to the bottom of our lists. Mine in particular tends to take the brunt of whatever is going on, so it was helpful for him to have my full attention. That definitely fills his cup, which is good because he won’t have that kind of attention for another 3 1/2 years! In all seriousness, our time together this weekend reminded me to slow down, to listen, to laugh, and to play. We were even able to come to a resolution on a particular topic that had been on my heart for awhile. I kept meaning to bring it up, but for whatever reason I wasn’t able to because…life. Talking about it this weekend actually brought me to tears from sheer relief. I had no idea I was carrying all that around with me. Life was moving too fast for me to notice that.

So, as I prepare to re-enter the beautiful reality of motherhood I will be unpacking 2 things: silence and connection. I will make time to center myself in silence, and I will work hard to remain connected to life outside of motherhood, specifically marriage and me.  This weekend helped me realize what a better mother/wife/friend/daughter I can be by doing those things. It’s the old oxygen mask principle. You have to put the mask on yourself before you can help anyone else. That’s an extremely difficult theory for me, but I believe in its truth. I’m so grateful for some time away to reflect, reconnect, and recharge. What are you “unpacking” as you continue on this journey? Sound off in the comments section. I’d love to hear!

Find the joy,

PS Don’t forget that Small Hands Big Steps can support you with all of your parenting needs.  From overwhelmed new moms to those that just need help with a particular issue, we can tackle it all.  Contact us here.