On Taking a Break From Being the Grown Up

We load up the car and drive half-way to Charlotte, straight to the crowded parking lot of a Chick-fil-A. It’s mid-July and that means it’s time for Grandy Camp. Years ago we decided this exit was the half-way point and so this is where we meet my parents, trade sleeping bags and children for an empty car and several days together, just John and me.

John and Me

Not used to this kind of spacious time, we re-aquaint ourselves with one another in the form of him taking a nap on one end of the sofa while I read a book on the other. We leave our empty house for an early dinner at a little Greek restaurant right near our house and marvel at the space and the quiet that has now descended upon us.

After dinner we go shopping for him some shirts, spend exactly 20 minutes in the store from the time we walk in to the time we leave, including dressing room time and checkout.

Man-shopping at its finest.

We browse through the Whole Foods, a place we rarely shop, and buy not one necessary thing – not one egg or gallon of milk. Instead, we leave with individual slices of over-priced dessert and a bottle of wine. We head straight to his Mom’s house to eat our fancy cake and watch Tiny House Nation on her cable TV.

When the kids aren’t around, we turn into kids a little bit.

john and meIn a way I don’t think about until later, I realize it’s good for the parents to have some time away from the kids for lots of reasons, not the least of which being so we can remember how to be kids ourselves.

And I think of how Jesus tells us grown people to become like little children, always inviting us downward with gladness, always pulling us closer to Him, welcoming us to the small places we sometimes forget to go when we are so busy being the grown ups.

“I would not choose to become a child again but I am looking to children and searching in them for a simplicity and ordinariness that makes being an adult easier to accept and miracles easier to see.”

Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of Your Heart


  1. says

    Yes, it’s so important to be away from your children once in a while, so we can stripped off the extra layer of identity as a parent and slow down a bit. But I do have to admit that my husband Steve and I act like kids even when our kids are around 😉

    • says

      Yeah, I guess we do that sometimes too – it feels different when they’re gone, though. Like we’re breaking the rules in a way :)

  2. says

    My parents had our boys for two weeks this summer. I always plan grandiose things while they’re away — all the work I’ll do, etc. Instead my husband and I had a lot of low – key, quiet time together. It was perfect.

  3. says

    It’s a funny mixture. I never seem to quite get used to being a grown up and getting to come home late and then stay up even later watching television! I agree – grown up childhoodness… is so much fun.

  4. says

    This last weekend my husband I spent a couple of days at my parent’s cabin while my mom watched the kids. It’d had been over two years since we’d spent a childless night. He took three naps and I did a whole lot of reading. And we did lots of talking with no interruptions. It was heavenly. We even walked through a gas station, commenting on the kinds of candy and snacks we liked or didn’t. It did feel a little bit like we were kids again ourselves.

  5. says

    What a precious time!

    You know, I’ve had an empty nest for a long time now. And no grandchildren yet. Even so, I try to keep touch with the *little girl* in me. For it is that inner childlike spirit that clings to Jesus in a way that my Mrs. Adult Woman has trouble with sometimes. I want to love Him purely and simply, as my Friend, and let go of all the other distractions that come with grown-up life.

    Grow into maturity with Him, yes, but always with the wonder of a child at how wonder-full He is!


  6. says

    I’m so glad you two had that time but I also think you just gave me a moment to be thankful I’m single and not a parent – the only two things I have ever really wanted. I take my freedom for granted.

  7. says

    We have a son, age 21 ,and after 15 years of secondary infertility, we now have twins who are age 5. Last week was the first time we took them to Vacation Bible School every evening and went out to dinner, just the two of us. 4 nights in a row! I love my babies so much, but sometimes it’s important for me to remember that I loved their daddy first and the two of us need time to pretend we are young and carefree all over again:).
    I’m so glad you had a wonderful time!

  8. says

    Scott and I bought the most ridiculous little banged-up sailboat today, on his 43rd birthday. Because we are just kids on the inside and we want to let the wind whip through our hair and hold hands when the sky gets all cotton candy right before the sun sets. And maybe we are just re-figuring out what we knew at the start.

  9. says

    Time away from kids and reconnecting with a spouse is so essential and yet I have not done a good job at getting away with my husband over the years. He is a worship pastor, so weekends are full and both of our parents live far away. But this year we had the rare opportunity to get away on an overseas trip. We had time to talk, to reconnect, to listen, to live. A time to fill our souls instead of run on empty.
    Glad you had the chance to get away too.

  10. says

    I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve missed your posts this summer.
    I just finished reading A Million Little Ways last week. This book inspired me in words I can’t even express. It really could not have come at a better time in my life. My family is getting ready to move from Florida to our home state of Minnesota—leaving behind our house, our friends, a car, our jobs at our church of 15 years where my husband was a pastor and I was a decorator—but amazingly, I still have peace that surpasses understanding in my heart.

    We know God is calling us to a new season of life and ministry. Basically, we are stepping out of the boat and walking on the water. Your book was such an inspiration—like a shot of faith and hope into my arm. Instead of looking to our future in fear and listening to the questions of doubt (Where will we live? What if we don’t get new jobs? What am I crazy?), I choose to look to my future through faith and the lens of hope (What will God do next? What amazing things does He have planned for us? Here I am, Lord. Use me!).

    You’ve inspired me to begin blogging. I have always wanted to write, but wasn’t sure I had anything worthwhile to say. But through this season, I have so much stirring in my heart that I realized, these words are not just for me. What if the keys God has given me are to unlock something for someone else? I can’t just keep them in my pocket. I’m trying to be diligent (during moving, no less) to put these keys—these words, thoughts, and inspirations to paper (or screen?). I’m still very green, but I’m doing what I can with what God has given me.

    Thank you for your transparency in your blog and your books (I also loved Grace For The Good a Girl). Your words are anointed and for such a time as this and have encouraged me tremendously.

    Much love,
    Heather Sibinski

  11. says

    our teenagers served on a soup bus for a week, so hubby and i got to be wild for a few days; read: we still went to work, but in the evenings we went c r a z y

    3 trips to the movies
    at least 2 meals out
    moved the couch closer to the flat-screen in the living room to watch what-evah we wanted on netflix
    closed the curtains
    uninterrupted thought and conversation is PRICELESS :)
    one funny bit: HE doesn’t miss the kids until they’ve been gone at least 3 days, I miss them right away, but then get used to having them gone…

  12. says

    I’m also a big believer in an occasional night away from the kids. I’m fortunate enough to have my parents living forty-five minutes away from us, meaning we have cheap (read: free), reliable, enthusiastic babysitters. They love having my boys, the boys love going, and it means my husband and I get to sleep in! Everyone wins. And my husband and I get to turn into kids for a while, too, just as you said! (though in our case, we are kids who really like Prosecco …). :)

  13. says

    Next time I’m sending my man to shop with your man because they definitely have the same plan.

    Glad you’ve had a little time to reconnect and be kids again.

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