"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

27 February 2012


"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm, and live entirely surrounded by cows - and china." ~ Charles Dickens

*I will apologize in advance for the weird formatting of this post. I've been fiddling with the picture placement and double-line-spacing between paragraphs for over fifteen minutes, and I'm just going to leave well enough alone.  :~)

Our stay-cation week culminated in an overnight getaway at Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich with some friends from Middle Ground Worship. Saturday started off rather abruptly, as I opened my eyes to see the pillow by my head soaked in bright red blood. It wasn't my own; I had woken up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and in my sleepy state, I had crawled back into bed on Nich's side of the bed. I poked Nich awake to inquire about the blood. It turned out that he'd had a nosebleed during the night, so while he got in the shower to clean up, I stripped the bed, started the laundry, and treated our mattress. 

SO cold, but in such good spirits!
The internet is a wealth of information for how to do useful things, like get nose blood out of your bed. 

There was quite a bit of snow and gusty wind that morning, and although the snow stopped and melted away, the wind kept up all day. Frankly, most of Saturday was difficult for me. I was overly weary from the week. Having Nich home was wonderful, but it required a change of pace. I'm realizing that I've gotten used to having one or two solid blocks of quiet in my days, and I depend on those times to re-center my mind. 

The building in the background is where we were staying
Once we were settled in at the Barry House Library (where we were staying) and had enjoyed a terrific lunch, it was time for the first group session. It became clear very quickly that a spiritual retreat with a curious toddler was going to be not-quite-so-restful. Nich and I took turns chasing Little B around, encouraging exploration and discouraging the consumption of shiny objects. B had napped on the ride to the center, and he was not interested in an afternoon nap. We spent the allotted free time in the afternoon going for a romp around the grounds. Needless to say, by the time dinner was over, all three of us were worn out and a bit cranky -- not what you would prefer to happen on a weekend away.
Little B's bedtime ended up being a bit trying as well, due to a slip in the bathtub resulting in a small scratch on his face. Nich and I were strung out from a series of miscommunications, and we ended up getting quite snippy with one another. I was ready to call it quits and come home. 

But then B went down for the night quite nicely, and we slipped out of our room, monitor in hand, to join the rest of the group by the fireplace for the evening session. The focus for the weekend was about our need for community and for building deep relationships, something that definitely resounded in our hearts. We enjoyed good conversation that evening and went to bed feeling that the day had been redeemed (and marveling that B slept through us re-entering the room and getting ready for bed). 
Little B shared his toys quite nicely with Olivia.
B's first time at a real piano

The next day dawned sunny and beautiful. We had been up for an hour and a half in the middle of the night with B being inconsolable. I think he was just out of sorts from being in a strange place and having us in the same room. After repeatedly telling him to lie back down and go night-night, we had taken turns holding him and trying to get him to go back to sleep. Eventually, I had just brought him into our bed. It was sort of nice to open my eyes to the sleeping faces of both "my boys." 

We hiked up the hill to the welcome center for our meals
B went down easily for his morning nap, so Nich and I were both able to fully participate in the morning session and discussion groups. He slept for two hours, and we eventually had to wake him up at lunchtime so that we could pack up and check out of our room. After lunch, we had one final session.

So windy!
One of the unexpected challenges of co-parenting is that Nich is far more conscious of the effect B has on other people than I am. I tend to be more relaxed, believing that children, particularly babies and young toddlers, need freedom to explore. I believe people need to be understanding of that, and it's unfortunate that our society has become so unfriendly towards children, seeing them as inconveniences. Children need to learn to behave appropriately within situations, rather than being restrained or removed from them. Nich believes that B is distracting everyone, and he does his best to limit that. He holds B in his arms (when he doesn't want to be held) or takes him to a different room. Sometimes, this frustrates me. As everyone was mingling after the last session in the early afternoon, one of the women came up to me and told me that she had been impressed at "what a good boy" B had been the entire time. She said that she admired how Nich and I tag-teamed "so effortlessly" and how she had "not once seen [me] get frustrated at [my] husband." I was incredibly humbled, remembering our previous night's bickering and my inner havoc about having B around other people. 

So although there was no Swiss farm (nor were there any cows), it ended up being a lovely time away from our norm. 

I never really saw eye to eye with Dickens anyway.
The mandatory group photo, of course.

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