Every Memorial Day weekend, my husband and a group of friends and relatives, go deep into the Moose River Plains for a weekend of camping, drinking, cussing, card playing, hiking, eating, fishing and general male bonding activities. Several are Veterans, (including my husband), and they hold a special ceremony to commemorate the meaning of the day. This has been going on for almost half a century but my husband has only taken part these past 30 or so years. It is a non-negotiable time-out for him and something that we jokingly call our “prenup”. Guaranteed. (I have my own as well) As with everything some years are good, some years no so much but every year he returns as if from some battle; bruised, bitten and blistered.
It is the best thing he could possibly do for himself.
As the fully engaged father of three girls and as an exceptional husband, this weekend signifies the one time of the year that he doesn’t need to be the gentleman that he really is. It allows him also be the boy that he really is. He gets to wander in the woods for hours and hours often bushwhacking his way through. It lets him fish or drink or eat without having to worry about us. (The “us” is usually all he gets to think about in his daily life in one way or another). It gives him a break from the “screen” where he has to earn his living. It also allows him to push his limits…how high he can climb or how far he can go or how long he can stand the 40 degree water. It helps him appreciate home; the comfort, the warmth and in the end all of the affection of the four girls who adore him.
This year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. I am convinced that our decision to respect and support those predesignated weekends away is what has kept us happy and perhaps sane. I am convinced it is also what keeps him healthy as he takes time to prepare for his adventures of hiking 3 hours in with backpacks and push carts full of food and other accoutrements (including a port-a-potty…OY!)
Lest you think this was always easy and I was always happy for him to go, I can assure you, it was not! Especially when my kids were little, it was hard and the nights were long and sleepless and a little part of me wanted to pop one of the blisters when he got back! I regret to say, that my exhaustion would sometimes show. But as my kids got older, it became “girl time” and it wasn’t really so bad after all. That is the funny thing about getting older, I can see much more clearly all of the moments of grace and gifts that were presented to me over the years. Things I didn’t always appreciate, much like this, but things that had their purpose to make a more richly textured experience.
So three cheers for the Recreational Prenup! Hip Hip Hooray….etc. etc.
So tell me, do you do anything like this?