Thank You India… er um, Iowa

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Those Iowans love and honor their mothers! This statue that represents fertility to Iowa was at the State Capitol. I'm guessing the school boys don't mind the field trips so much.

One early Friday morning, my cousin and I hatched a plan on Facebook chat that led to an awesome early Mother’s Day gift for me. Leaving my boys to fend for themselves (bless my husband for volunteering to watch Josiah–no safety net), I headed out of town to for a 3-day, girls-only weekend in Des Moines, IA. She’s from Kansas City and I’m from St. Paul, and Des Moines was about dead middle. It’s not like there’s a ton of stuff to do in Des Moines, but that helped make it so great. We had one agenda item: tickets to the theater for a Saturday matinee. It was so awesome to just do whatever we wanted! And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I slept in past 9 am.

We got a great deal on 3 nights at Sheraton, we talked our faces off, laughed our heads off, contemplated and solved most of the major world problems, and hatched many entrepreneurial and ministry  ideas that we have a lot of passion–and no time–for. Oh well, we’re convinced that our 50s will be our decade! Watch out, world!

I don’t think I fully realized just how much I needed a break. From work. From home. From autism. From autism. From autism. My cousin and I are only a year apart, and we never lived close together, but the one time a year we got to see each other growing up was packed with rich memories. As we kicked around the courtyard of the Iowa State Capitol one sunny day, I realized how rare and beautiful it is to find someone who so gets you, who has a sense of humor that feeds yours, who has a spiritual conviction that empassions her life like you do, who creatively complements you, and who cares for you so deeply. She called me “the sister of her heart.” I feel the same way. There have been few people in my life that I feel so incredibly in the zone with whether we’re in rapid-fire banter or comfortable silence. I miss having a woman friend like that in my everyday life to hang out with.

The show we went to in a quaint little theater was perfect for our weekend away. It was called “Girls Only,” and it was about two friends who met as adults, but felt like they should have been best friends growing up. So, it was kind of an adult girls slumber party with audience participation and some improv. It was great! There was one man in the whole place, and he and his wife were sitting beside us. We talked with this charming older couple at intermission and after the show. The guy was so sweet. In the past two weeks, he said that he almost died twice. Two times his aorta tore, and he called his wife a hero and he told us how grateful he was to be alive. The two of them had been married for 42 years, and they were still holding hands and taking in all the theater they could in Des Moine, Iowa. He gave us some advice about raising children: treat them like dogs–love and praise them like crazy for good behavior, and straighten them out for bad behavior (sounds a little like ABA, right?). So cute.

I want to always remember our last night in the hotel. We were the only ones in the pool at 11 pm, and we were waxing nostalgic about our church experience in childhood (she’s a pastor’s daughter). We laughed and laughed as we tried to remember as many 80s overhead-projector-friendly praise choruses as we could. We proceeded to sing them in the echoey room, vowing that we MUST pass these songs on to our kids.

Those choruses were so simple and pure, and we knew them so well because in church we would reprise the same three lines over and over for about 6-10 minutes (you know what I’m talking about if you went to a church like that). We also laughed about the well-intentioned but slightly left-of-center Christians with quirks, including those that decided that you didn’t have to be on the platform to be part of the band, as long as you brought your tambourine with streamers that you could shake to an irregular rhythm in the pews/chairs. Some of you didn’t know this alternative universe existed, right? It did. And for better, not worse, those words have never departed from us.

We ate, we drank, we were merry. I was sad to part, but I was ready to get back to my boys–and ready to book the hotel for next year at this time so we make sure we make it an annual ritual! My husband encountered a couple of rocky patches while I was gone, but the boys survived, and he told me that I picked a good time to go. Why? Because he said with Mother’s Day coming up, I was going to get a good present because he realized just how much I do around home. Bonus! I felt the same way about him when he left for a few days.

Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! If you can find some days for yourself–just do it! It will do you and your family some good.

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