I only went once, but it was awesome. It was so hot we had to stop at the showers to cool off on our way to the pool and then back to the showers between the pool and the cabin. The cabins were primitive. In my bunk I felt like a hot dog wrapped in a bun, which was the thin mattress. It wasn’t the Hilton, but it wasn’t at home either. No one asked me what was for dinner. No one asked me where their shoes were or could they have another snack. In fact all my meals and snacks were prepared for me and I didn’t have to do dishes. We called it Mom’s Camp. Women from ages 20-65 years were attending. Actually the University of Illinois Extension Office ran this event. This Mom attended camp to retreat from her 2, 4, 6, and 9 year old children.
It was wonderful to choose my activities at camp based on my interests. I awoke and went to sleep at my choosing, not when little hands were prying open my eyeballs or shaking my shoulders to ask an urgent question. I felt free. It was a temporary freedom from my daily responsibilities, but it was a breath of fresh air which allowed me to better love and nurture going forward.
Everyone can benefit from a retreat. We all need to be refreshed. A retreat is different from a vacation. One takes their family with them on vacation, but not on a retreat. To survive my wonderful blessings I took a small retreat every day. While the little ones took their daily naps, the older children and I each retreated to our individual rooms. Be Quiet was the rule. No talking at all. Rest, read, play quietly alone, or look at books on your bed.
Life has come full circle. Our children are now adults and they have blessed us with twelve grandchildren. My house is quiet on most days. Now I host “camp” for my grandchildren. The four oldest boys and then the four oldest girls each come to our house for planned fun and activities. The minimum age is four so that the child is well potty trained, doesn’t require daily naps and will be okay without mommy and daddy for a few days. All our children live three hours away in three different directions. This little camp is a good retreat for the children and probably for the parents too. It is fun for these grandparents and the cousins are happy to be with each other.
Parents, try to provide little retreats for each other. We all need time to unwind, relax, think and dream. I once heard the following formula for retreating: One weekend a year, one day a month, and one hour a day. Most of us would struggle with even the one hour a day. Hunt for and seek mini retreats every day. As we gain mental, emotional and spiritual strength we become better individuals, parents, spouses and friends.
My husband offered to let me attend Mom’s Camp again . . . . . just as soon as all the children were big enough to take care of themselves. The kids agreed with him. I only went once. Now I sometimes go to my children’s homes to give them a break.