Since my kids were born, I’ve never spent a day without them. A few hours, at most, but never a night nor a day without my little ones. For all of Z’s seven and a half of years of life and Moulay’s three, we’ve been together–living, traveling, unschooling, playing. You get the picture. But next week for the first time ever, I will be traveling without them. I would love to say that my husband and I are taking an adventure together, just the two of us, but that’s not happening yet either. I was invited to attend a transformational travel retreat for Muslim women next week and, unbelievably, I’m going!
One of my very dear friends, Brooke Benoit, is the co-founder of The Big Reconnect Sleepover. I have been drooling over their adventures and experiences for years, imagining that one day in the far-off future (when my children are much older), I would join them in Morocco, Spain, or Peru. But when my friend invited me to attend this year’s London retreat, I didn’t have any real reason to say no. The timing works perfectly with our summer holidays. My children are no longer nurslings. My husband is supportive. Why not? We can make a family holiday out of it, I thought. But my kind friend gently reminded me that it’s not really a retreat if I’m running back to my family every evening. True, but hard to fathom at first. Even harder was the thought of paying for three additional tickets to London, plus hotel and meals, and my husband navigating a totally new city with our three and seven year olds. It seemed easier for me to travel with my brother and attend the retreat as real retreaters do—alone.
Though I am admittedly nervous about how my brood will fare without me, I know that our family is incomplete without any one of us. I may see myself as the heart of our family, but we are still a composite whole. Being without any piece makes us incomplete, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t spread out at times to grow. I also honestly think that I won’t realize how beneficial this retreat is for me until I’m actually there. I will miss my family and my family will miss me, but it will be an incredible learning experience for us all, I believe.
Plus, I am looking forward to spending some uninterrupted time with my younger brother. We’re ten years apart, so I left home for college when he was only seven and never returned for more than a few months. We’ll spend a weekend together following the retreat and it will be great to spend time together as brother and sister without juggling the roles of wife, mother, and daughter too. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you all.