After a weekend of switching off I'm back in my life contemplating how to slip off my beaded sandals and slip back into motherhood. Having waited five years to leave them overnight, going away without the boys for the first time ever was perfectly timed. I was definitely ready for a mini-separation and they were pretty laid back about me going. As soon as we were on the road I felt the responsibilties of family life fall away. With a good friend at my side, we drove towards the sea.
We pitched our tent looking out to the bay and exclaimed a fair bit at our good fortune. The sun which had surprised us on the trip out was setting, leaving a brooding sky suspended over a dark sea. High on a heady mix of sea air, freedom and friendship we meandered into town for an evening of music, beer and good company. Unfortunately, so carefree were we that we forgot to take notice of our route and spent a considerable amount of time at a very late hour wandering about clueless as to how to get back to our campsite. Thanks, however, to my companion's calmness and positivity in the face of my growing panic, we were soon back at base.
What followed was heart-sharing, sunshine, another friend arriving, coastal walks and the deep peace that comes from totally letting go. I took every opportunity to lay my bones upon the ground and breath in the warmth of the sun and the vastness of the sky. No worries or hurries, just connection and ease. The god of good times was smiling on us and we were granted the sublime combination of heavenly weather and breathtaking surroundings.
Oh, and we ate bread...lots of bread - from French sticks to pain au chocolat fried on a grill pan, we didn't hold back. Crazy times...
When motherhood first happens many of us are overwhelmed by the realisation of what it really means to be completely responsible for these little souls who've landed on our laps. Although the initial shock passes, the responsibility remains; being able to step away even for a brief moment felt like a gift. I felt a lightness and a sense of self that is sometimes difficult to locate when deep in the work of mothering.
I am infinitely grateful for this time away, for the space and rejuvenation it offered my poor weary brain. The challenge for me now is how to carry that into real life, how to remember to breathe and let go when all around me is crumbling. When those moments of awful challenge face me, I'm hoping I can meet them a little more patiently and with a little more grace when I recall the sea, the sky and unzipping our tent each morning to the dazzling light of the day.