“Come Back Better”

Last Friday my husband and I were getting ready to head just 30 minutes down the road for our weekend “staycation” when my 13yo daughter said, “Come back better, ok?”

Oh, this sweet girl. She knows me too well.

She knows I’ve been stressed and out of balance, a circumstantial side effect of my husband’s out-of-town job and my weekday single-motherhood. This little getaway was planned (at least in part) to help relieve some of that stress.

And aside from a horribly hard hotel bed (felt like sleeping on pavement!), I would say the weekend was a success.

We ate the best BBQ in town on Friday night and watched a marathon of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the hotel TV. We spent our gray, rainy Saturday at the movie theater watching The Lorax and The Artist. We spent our dark, rainy Saturday night eating at The Cheesecake Factory (my first time! it was AMAZING!) and watching a rented copy of Moneyball. We ate our fill at the delicious hotel breakfast buffet each morning. We hung out, talked future plans, sometimes sat quiet and perfectly still, and I even crocheted a little. It was all very relaxing.

But the one thing that made me feel “better” more than anything else didn’t even happen during my part of our weekend away.

On Saturday night, our oldest daughter orchestrated a night at the drive-in with all the kids, and this is what I found on her Facebook wall at the end of the night (that’s my 13yo daughter with the first comment):

hannah's facebook update

As crazy as our life is, I am so grateful for children who love each other, and who will take care of and be kind to one another while I’m away. And as much as I swim in self-criticism as a mother, I realized: I helped to teach them that kindness.

The relaxation, the time with my husband, the fun I had doing things I love (movies! eating! more movies and eating!) – those were all fantastic, and very much needed. But so was this little glimpse into the kind of people my kids my are, even when I’m not around, and the inkling that maybe the best *I* can do is just fine for *my* family. It all definitely helped me to “come back better.”