Last week I read a post by the Gypsy Mama entitled, "A quick crash course in surviving goodbye". She listed 10 things she's found that help when saying goodbye when you're leaving and won't be back for a long time. This blog post resonated with me since we have said these kinds of goodbyes to Carrie.
My husband and I are on vacation this week. We have been looking forward to a week together for a long time, a week of relaxing and spending all our time together. This time is especially important to us because Craig is usually on the road all week each week and we are apart.
But last week, as I made preparations for this week of vacation (laundry, groceries, etc.) I was already anticipating the sadness of the end of vacation. As we made plans for what we would do during our vacation I thought about how fast the week would go by. I realized that a week is not much time to make up for all the weeks apart.
I looked back at the list Gypsy Mama wrote about surviving goodbye and realized that there were ideas I could use to help me enjoy my vacation more. Here are my adaptations:
1. Do not panic
There is so much we want to do during our vacation. Some of the activities are just fun, others are projects we'd like to finish. So much to do, so little time. As Gypsy Mama said, "Panic kills memory making. Slow down, savor instead."
I will not rush to get to the next thing so that I can cross off everything on our list.
2. Go slow and don't overbook the days
I will enjoy my cup of coffee in the morning while looking at the mist rising off the lake. I will take time to smell the pines and feel the sun on my face. I will fill my days with times of slow - time to savor the moment. I will take time for friends and family. I will enjoy the process of each project, not just it's completion. I will savor the moments of working alongside my husband and times when we just relax together.
I think it's a good idea to have some plans for our week, but I do not want to overplan. I want time to be spontaneous. If we see somewhere that looks interesting, let's stop and investigate, even if it's not in the plan for the day. If we feel like calling up friends to go for lunch, we'll take the time to do that.
It's so interesting that slowing down actually makes the day feel longer and better.
3. Do regular activities in a new way.
Do you always eat your meals at the kitchen table? Pack up the meal and go for a picnic- even if it's just in your back yard. Go grocery shopping together for a change or go to a store you've never been to before. Sleep in the guest bedroom instead of your own. Bring your spouse or friend breakfast in bed. Doing routine chores in a new way is refreshing. I will try to do something each day in a new way.
Gypsy Mama included this in her list. She talked about how meals together are good for the soul. And she's right. We've already had friends over for lunch and we ate spaghetti together in the picnic house. It was such a good time.
Craig and I had fun planning meals for the week - adding some new recipes to try and some of our favorite foods. We enjoy cooking together too. So this week we will enjoy mealtimes- taking the time to cook together, and to linger over our meals rather than eating on the run.
5. Don't anticipate the last day of vacation.
I will not be sad about the end of our vacation. I will live each day to the fullness of the day - whether it's packed with activities or quiet delicious slowness. I will even try my best to enjoy the last day because it will be a day when we are still doing everything together.
6. Collect memories
I want to collect these special memories so that on the days when life seems hard I can look back and remember this vacation, and have hope for the next time. I will take pictures. I will journal some of my thoughts and the best times of the week.
7. Start a new tradition
Gypsy Mama talked about squeezing in a last touch - how they play a "game" of being the last one to touch the other. That last hug. She also mentioned downplaying the moment by saying "see you next week" even if it would be a year. It was something she and her siblings had always done. I would like to start a new tradition something like that, something that we do one every vacation, something we can do in between vacations that will bring back the memories, and build anticipation for the future.
I'll have to think on this a while. Or maybe something will happen this week, and I'll say, "that's it!"
We do have fun traditions in our family already - like putting the cold spoon on someone else, giving hugs when we say hello and goodbye, doing the digger, and others. But it would sure be nice to have something special that will remind me of our vacation.
Prayer is already a big part of our lives. We pray each day- for our families, for each other, for friends, for special needs and for our country. During this week of vacation, however, it would be easy to get busy with activities, busy having fun, and forget to pray.
This weekend Craig and I talked about some Bible verses that have been meaningful to us this week. They talked about the importance of being in Christ and having Him dwell within us. They included words like dwell and abide - and the two best ways to abide in Christ, to dwell in the house of the Lord, is to spend time reading His Word and spend time in prayer. I want to make sure that we take time this week to refresh our spirits by abiding in Christ and in His Word.
The Bible says that He is with us always, that He goes before us, that He works all things together for our good, that He loves us so much. He will be with us this week and I will thank Him for the beauty all around me here at the cabin. I will thank Him for this week of vacation, and for a job to go back to, a home and a family, and most of all for His presence and help each day of my life.
9. Remind each other that this is not the end of life - it's just the end of a week.
We will continue to live life together. Our daily routine will be different, and we may be in a different place than we are when we're on vacation, but we will still be living it together. There will be more moments to savor, more good times, more opportunities to work together on special projects. We will have more weekends at the cabin.
10. Plan something special for the way home, and for the first day back.
I think we need to stop at Happy's or Dairy Queen or somewhere else fun, so that the ride home doesn't seem so sad. Craig and I will talk about what our next project at the cabin should be, so that we can look forward and plan for it, not just dwell on the fact that our vacation is over.
I also want to make plans with a friend for one of the first evenings home. It will help me to remember that I didn't leave all the fun behind at the end of our vacation.