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On Taking Vacation

Over the weekend I attended a wedding where, as is often the case, I found myself in the ladies room chatting with other women.

In between the rituals of hand washing and lipstick reapplication in the over-sized mirror, one woman’s comment about the day’s perfect weather led another to share how much she’d like a vacation with her husband and how doubtful she was that she’d get one this year.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

The answer was caregiving.  Turns out this woman’s 83 year-old mother has recently come to live in her home. And, as many adult daughters and sons do, she is experiencing the squeeze of being caught between what she feels her mother needs (time with her) and what her husband needs (time with her).

“My husband only gets one week off a year, but I don’t see how we can get away.”

“Which is why you have to,” I said, chalking up my sudden directness toward a woman I’d just met to the pain in my feet from dancing and perhaps too the champagne I’d already consumed.

“You think so?” she said.

“Absolutely.” I said.  “There may not be time to pull together a trip to a far-away island, but you can still get out in the sun and be by the water – maybe have a few nice meals while watching the sunset and feeling the breeze on your face?

More so than what your mom needs and what your husband needs it sounds like some time to recharge is what you need.”

“Hey, thanks,” she said. “I think you’re right.  I’m going to go tell my husband that we’ve got to plan something tomorrow and maybe my mom can stay with my brother for a few days.”

“That’s the spirit,” I said, moving toward the door through which I’d step carefully, back to the party.

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