Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday's Words for September 22, 2010

I can definitely say that my very first writers’ retreat/girls weekend was a smashing success.

I’ve spent time with these wonderful women before, both collectively and individually. So the company was as stimulating, and as heart-warming as I knew it would be.

Despite the fact that this weekend was undoubtedly a social event, I had hoped to be able to get some writing done. My biggest wish was that the change in atmosphere, and the company of fellow authors, would prove inspirational.

I hadn’t expected the depth of renewal I experienced.

We enjoyed much laughter, of course, as well as many moments of synergy. Our hostess would accept no help with meal preparation or clean up—a gift greater than food, for it left the rest of us with no recourse but to be nourished, and then to take that nourishment and turn it into our craft.

Think about that gift for a moment, please. We were three women—three mothers, if you will, well used to showing our love for our families by being the nurturers, the providers, the caretakers—and here we were being nurtured and cared for in a way none of us had experienced since childhood. That, my friends, was an amazing gift.
In my daily life, as I create my characters and tell their stories, I’m also doing housework, making meals, caring for grandchildren, looking after pets, chauffeuring my husband back and forth to work, paying bills…in short, multitasking during every moment of the day. But for four days, I did nothing but be.

No wonder I felt as if I’d had a week’s vacation instead of only a few days.
Of course there’re always a couple of “transitional” days when I get home. I arrived after eleven in the evening—after my regular bed time, to be honest. And since each night while away I stayed up into the wee hours, I was tired. But it’s always good to come home.

Mr. Ashbury was very glad to see me, of course. I think he’s gotten rather used to having me around. We have, from time to time, spent a few days here and there in pursuit of separate endeavours. We’ve done that since fairly early on in our marriage. We’ve never, either of us, been inclined to live in each others’ pockets.
I had been curious as to how he’d fare in this instance, for unlike occasions past, he wasn’t alone for the entire five days I was gone. He’d booked the week off work, planning to stay home and do things around the house. He hadn’t planned on watching our grandchildren, but of course happily agreed to do so. I left via airport transportation on Thursday afternoon. Just before the dinner hour that same day, our second daughter dropped of the children on her way to work.

It took some effort on my part, but I let go of the ‘worry’ about this. I knew, of course, that he’d manage them through the evening, and send them to bed on time. It was the whole get-them-up-in-the-morning-and-off-to-school routine I worried about. To my best recollection, this would be a first for him.

But he passed that test with flying colors, and even surprised me. I’d assumed that for Thursday’s dinner, he’d use his most honed ‘cooking skill’, aka cash, and get either pizza (order in) or chicken (we have a franchise outlet four blocks away) or walk them down town to the really yummy burger place.

Mr. Ashbury did none of the above. Instead, he actually cooked one of their favourite meals: scrambled eggs with cheese. Granddaughter said it was “really good”.
And I happen to know this was the first meal he’d cooked since our three children were in grade school, I went to a PTA conference one weekend. The father of the house boiled hamburger for dinner. Upon my return, number one son begged me never to go away again.

Personal growth comes in all shapes and forms and sometimes, when you least expect it.


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