I’ve always said that if vacation is anything like floating around weightlessly in the quiet serenity of outer space, then coming home is like that harsh thud when gravity hits. You’d better buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
I am no longer shocked when, the day I get home from a trip someone gets an ear infection, or I suffer a terrible fall down the stairs while trying to get to my morning coffee, or I accidentally vacuum up the puppy poop that I never knew was sitting in the corner of my foyer. (Yes, I did. And as a compulsive sanitizer, I only have two words for you: FOREVER UNCLEAN.)
So I really shouldn’t have been surprised this morning when I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm to discover that one of the dogs had been sick in the laundry room all night. I should have known. I should have been ready.
This is Re-Entry.
And When Re-Entry also happens to fall on a Monday, you don’t just need to buckle up, you need to gird your loins.
Last weekend I was able to sneak away with a few girlfriends for a much-needed break from the busyness of our schedules that seem to have reached a fever-pitch as we near the end of the school year. Between sports, house-flipping, day-jobs, writing, school schedules, traveling, birthdays, and deadlines, this time of year always starts to feel a little out of control. It’s that final push to summer break, and it has the potential to kill me dead.
So every May for the last four years we’ve called a time-out. A quick breather to recharge. No kids, no husbands, no cooking, no cleaning, and no carpooling. We made the necessary arrangements, kissed our people goodbye, and ran towards the plane as fast as we could. Which, it turns out isn’t very fast, because when you’re traveling with six other moms everyone brings a snack bag, two extra water bottles, a change of shoes, and a cribbage board. So yah, we obviously know how to party.
We got away and it was glorious. We laughed, we cried, and we solved all of life’s problems before our plane even landed in Vegas.
I know what you’re thinking. Vegas is the seedy underbelly of the free world. We all saw The Hangover. We all know what happens.
But let’s be real here: this was not that kind of a trip. For us it was more about sipping coffee in our bath robes and ordering room service than it was about putting on tall shoes and going clubbing. In fact going clubbing was never even on the table because it turns out I’m physically and mentally unprepared for the trauma of wearing heels for more than 2 hours at a time.
Slipping on a fun pair of high-heeled booties is all fun and games until it’s time to walk. I only made it ten steps outside of our hotel lobby before I was in so much agony, I was fully convinced my shoe was filling up with blood. Although I can’t be sure, because I was honestly too afraid to look.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Vegas, but even finding your way to an uber or a taxi requires a lot of walking. I’d foolishly packed two pairs of brand new shoes, which I can now tell you was the biggest mistake of my adult life. You know things are getting desperate when you seriously consider walking barefoot on what are possibly the dirtiest sidewalks in America, for fear of crippling yourself in the name of fashion.
My feet were in so much pain I was literally walking like the hunchback of Notre Dame. My pinky toe might actually be dead now. I don’t really know because I still can’t feel anything below my ankles.
I was happy to survive a few hours in my uncomfortable shoes for dinner and a show, but what I want to know is how in the actual world any woman is able to wear 6 inch heels and stand in a long line waiting to get into a club, then have the motor skills to look cute while dancing once inside said club, and then muster the fortitude to walk home afterwards? Is it like a superpower? I feel like the women who possess this superpower are the same women who have the ability to do a perfect smokey eye and a messy bun. They’re like magical unicorns. I will never understand.
In the end all the walking was worth it because we had a total blast. We ate, lounged, laughed, watched great shows, and totally forgot about the all responsibilities waiting for us at home. For three whole days we didn’t wipe a single nose or bum other than our own, which is basically the highest level of freedom for a mom of littles.
While it was a lovely time, I know that going out of town is not always going to be realistic and that’s okay. The trips are fun, but they aren’t necessary. It’s not about where we go or what we do, it’s about being together and investing in our our friendships. These women (among others) have laughed and cried me through the biggest moments in my life.
We’ve shown up on each other’s doorstep with coffee and food when life is hard. We’ve supported, prayed, and laughed each other through everything from marriage to motherhood, births and deaths, successes and failures, and everything in between.
Whether it involves a fun getaway or not, I hope you are able to take the time to invest in the women in your life. These relationships are worth every bit of the care, effort, and grace they require to flourish.
And remember: It’s good to go away, but it’s good to come home.
So if you have children, dogs, or any other variables that serve as potential stressors, just drink some extra coffee on Re-Entry Day and don’t fight the funk.