Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Smart Retreat

Usually, Peter is the one who retreats to Maryland for long stretches of time. He can work remotely and also take care of the house, the yard, and the vineyard. He’s pretty amazing that way. This spring, however, Peter suggested that I be the one to go to Maryland for the extended trip. Peter joined me for the first two weeks, but he returned to Bellevue to take care of our daughter and cats and to umpire for the Little League season.

I was initially reluctant to commit to the big trip. I am not as capable as Peter in getting lots of physical labor done in a day. I am more easily distracted and injured. I’m not strong enough to do some of the work that is required. I tend to be lawn mower challenged on this property. Time has once again proven the wisdom of Peter’s suggestion. (The man is rarely wrong … it’s so frustrating!) Not only have I had a good opportunity to move from Bellevue and adjust to living in Maryland, but I’m also slowly strengthening my body as I learn when to stop and take a break and when to keep going. I have been submitting my resume to various employers in the area and researching many local companies with the hope of landing a job by summer. I’m slowly turning this house into a home.

Most importantly, perhaps, I have had a break from my teenaged daughter. I love my daughter and we can get along quite well during times of low stress. This is not one of those times. She is currently choosing which college among the five that accepted her will be her final choice for the next four years. This is a stress-filled decision and not a little prickly to bring up in conversation. When she is stressed, tempers flare, accusations fly, and feelings get hurt. I confess that both of us are guilty of that.

I have chosen, therefore, to consider this break a retreat. It’s a retreat from a lot of the responsibilities that I have in Bellevue, and it’s an opportunity to break the cycle of daughter-mother bickering that can lead to very tense and unhappy homes. Peter is very well equipped to handle Allison and guide her through this process. (We did just do this a year ago, after all.) He offers her a different lens to look through as she considers her choices. He has a sense of humor that can lighten intense moments. In two weeks the decision must be made, and life will move forward. That’s about when I return to Bellevue.

So here I am, retreating in warm (hot!)sun-filled days as I plant flowers and herbs, plan long-term projects, repair and maintain the house, and attempt to find a job. Except for being away from my husband, I’m quite happy with the way things are at the moment.

Thank you, Peter. Allison is lucky to have you as her dad.

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