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GAIL WHITE Selective selfishness can soothe a stressed-out soul



Published: Fri, June 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



I went on a ladies weekend getaway.

No husband. No children.

Just me and the ladies.

I almost canceled a thousand times.

Between the feelings of guilt and the logistical nightmare my absence creates, I had convinced myself that I was just being selfish.

Well, I learned something. It's amazing how a little bit of selfishness can rejuvenate a body. Every woman needs to be selfish once in a while

I dealt with the logistics first. It takes five people to do what I do everyday.

Running children here, picking them up there. Then, of course, there are the dinners, laundry and general crisis management I contend with everyday.

With rides and personnel in place, I coached the children on coping skills.

"Don't eat all the chips in one day."

"Keep track of where you leave your shoes."

My oldest son was scheduled to have two baseball games while I was gone. "Try not to get your uniform dirty at the first game," I instructed him. There was no guarantee it would get washed before the second.

Well-adjusted: The children seemed fine with the arrangements. Assured they would be fed and transported, they weren't rocked..

On the other hand, my husband, Pat, gave new definition to the word pout.

It began Sunday night. I was in the kitchen and from the family room, I heard him say to the children, "Well boys, your mother is leaving us."

By Wednesday, he was in misery. "I can't believe you're doing this," he said, completely forgetting his March Madness trip just two months earlier.

I left early Thursday.

As I drove away, I worried about the children, prayed for Pat, regretted not delegating dog duty to one particular person and thought of a thousand other details I had forgotten to handle.

The closer I came to my destination, the fewer details I could remember.

There is something about a group of women coming together, leaving the cares of their world behind.

It is way too much fun!

A light-of-heart feeling fills the air and laughter abounds.

Mirthful moments: Little incidences, like women giving and receiving directions -- "Was it half a mile this way or that way?" -- and conversations that come full-circle, become tremendously funny.

We decided to be "slumber party-ish" and paint our nails and toes. I cannot remember the last time I did that.

The weekend did have a purpose. That purpose was to golf.

I explained to my team that I have very little free time to practice -- four children and all. They understood what I meant on the first hole as my ball dropped off the tee.

That incident was the source of some gut-splitting humor.

I went to bed each night with my cheeks hurting from laughing.

The weekend over, I arrived home to find the children playing in the rec room. They were happy to see me and none the worse for my absence -- except Andrew, whose fish died while I was gone.

Pat, I found on the couch, half asleep. "I'm home!" I said happily.

"That's nice," he whispered. "Have a good time?"

I started to tell him about my wonderful fun when I realized he was asleep. He didn't wake until morning.

It's tough being me.

Renewal: The next morning, I awoke with a fresh start to my day and my life. A few days of renewing does wonders for the soul.

Halfway through the morning, I looked down at my hands and found that my wonderfully painted nails that looked perfect and beautiful for three days were chipped and scuffed, after just a few hours home.

No matter. I wouldn't change my life for all the nail polish in the world -- except maybe one weekend a year.

gwhite@vindy.com




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