It was June when I received the first email about a Sisters Ramadan Retreat (sponsored by S.I.S.T.E.R.S). I immediately thought back to last Ramadan when my son was four months old. I wasn’t fasting at that time since my little nursling was 100% dependent on me for nutrition. I remember that year being grateful for what I’d been given, but also looking forward to future years when I would have the opportunity to focus on my spiritual growth. So this year, of course, I signed up on the spot, confirming with my husband that he could take care of our kids and household for the 48 hours I would be away.
Nearly three months later and one week prior to the Retreat, I was feeling less excited and more nervously anxious about my approaching trip. Could my family really survive without me? Could I really survive without them? I came up with scenarios that would justify my not going. My daughter could get sick. The baby might be teething. Maybe I couldn’t be without them for so long. Maybe I couldn’t be without them at all. Maybe who I am was defined by my proximity to them. Or maybe it was time to stop thinking of reasons not to go. I packed a bag the night before sharing a car ride to rural Virginia with two other sisters.
The retreat itself was everything that I hoped it would be. Visiting with dear friends was time well spent. And most importantly, being able to mentally focus on the blessing of Ramadan was sublime.
When I came home, everything—and everyone—was in one piece. My children were happy to see their mommy. I was elated to see them. And I was delighted that although my husband managed to get by without me, he found that taking care of the kids on his own was enough of a challenge that he now appreciates me even more. It looks like everyone got something of this year’s retreat.
Laura Brown is a stay at home mom of two little ones. She happily holds the title of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family. She blogs about her money-saving ways at Blessings in Bargains.