Here’s what I had planned for the weekend: My oldest daughter would go on her first Senior High retreat to do some cabin camping with her church. I would stay at home and, yes, try to get some stuff done, but as there was not anything on the calendar for Saturday or Sunday, I also hoped to have some “me” time. My own relaxation time. In the comfort of my air conditioned home. That was the plan.
What happened was that the church trip needed another chaperone and I was asked. I bit the bullet and said yes. The things I do…I thought to myself. I’m such a giver. No rest for the weary. And on and on like that in my head for a while. I was a bit disappointed in how my weekend was now going to turn out.
On Friday afternoon, the caravan of minivans and SUVs carrying highschool kids and a few adults pulled up the the camp. And while there was electricity and running water, there was no air conditioning, there were spider webs everywhere, and shockingly in 2015, there was no wi-fi or cell service. It was rustic! And as I looked upon my cabin on that muggy, hot Friday evening, I felt even more dispondent over what my weekend had become. I girded my loins for the days ahead of being ever diligent, probably helping to cook and clean a lot, and trying to keep teenagers engaged in some well meaning activities through-out. I was exhausted thinking about it.
That evening, after unpacking and laying out my sleeping bag on my bed I walked to the main cabin to see what needed to be done for dinner. As I hit the entry way the aroma of fresh marinara wafted by my nose and the clinking of pans and utensils could be heard. Through the kitchen door I leaned in and saw three rising high school seniors cooking pasta and sauce, creating salad and toasting bread. Another rising junior was putting condiments together. I asked if I could help and was immediately told “No. We’re good. Thanks.” And I was dismissed. Really? No? Really?
So I stood there. And I watched. I was confused into inaction. 1. I was stunned. Could not believe what I was seeing. And 2. I now didn’t have a plan for the next hour of my life.
Eventually, after several minutes of just watching the teens at work, I decided to go back to my cabin. After all, I should take advantage of the little time off I had to do something for me. So I grabbed my Kindle, sat on a chair over looking the lake and other teens kayaking, and read.
Now, one might think that this is where the plot twist comes in. HA! And that is the plot twist…there is NO plot twist. Throughout the weekend I never cooked, I didn’t have to clean up dishes, there were no fights to break up, there were no lesson plans to organize. The kids planned the activities. They planned and made the meals. They washed the dishes.
I answered a few questions. I played a few games. I took some walks. I sang some songs. I roasted some marshmallows. And I read. And I thought. I couldn’t call anyone. I couldn’t “get stuff done”. I was on a retreat.
I think it was Sunday morning, as I watched the kids swimming and playing frisbee that I realized how relaxed I was. Sure, I was sweaty…it was hot, humid and sticky. But I had gotten away from all the things that pressured me. Not by choice, mind you. But in the end, I had done what I had really wanted to do.
“The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.” Well, in my case, the best laid plans weren’t really the best plans for me, and the universe fixed that.
At present I am in an air conditioned room complete with electric light, wi-fi and indoor plumbing. I miss Cabin E.