Now that Spring Break is upon us, many families are in vacation mode. And wouldn’t you agree that one of the greatest pleasures in life is taking a vacation? It’s a chance for you to check out, regroup, step off, catch your breath, re-energize, refuel and at long last, connect with loved ones you haven’t paid much attention to lately.
If you’re a single parent, think back to when you were married. You have to admit, even as dicey as the relationship might have been, vacations, miraculously, were always memorable – in a good way. At least with the ex and me, the baggage that was labeled anger, resentment and withholding never got packed for some reason whenever we hit the road. Oddly enough, two months before our marriage crashed and burned, we hauled our two daughters and a boat down to San Diego and enjoyed one of our best vacations ever cruising around the bay.
Since the divorce, vacations have been sparse. Something about having to work twice as hard to maintain half of what you once had manages to eat up all the fun – and funds — in life. In the last six years, my daughters and I have taken only two great escapes together: The Disney Cruise and Club Med in Florida. Out-of-the-ballpark trips, yes. But still, we haven’t spent nearly enough downtime, just us three.
This year, all that will change. I resolute (can that be used as a verb?) to get away more with my daughters. Not big trips. Little ones. Mini-getaways of the affordable kind, like our recent weekend escape to the country where we went horseback riding. For two days, while the rest of civilization spun around us, we got in touch with our inner cowgirls and rode a few horses, many of them older, but still with some trot left in them.
“These horses would be on a dinner table in France if they weren’t here,” said one of the cowboys.
I have always loved horses. I am amazed that these magnificent creatures have survived the ages and have been helping mankind get around and get their work done, century after century. Some very hunky ranch hands matched us with horses suited to our particular personalities. They said that was important for a good ride. I got Comanche, the stubborn one. The wrangling sisters got Lucky and Newby. While their horses trotted, Comanche ate everything in sight. I guess he was my perfect match after all.
When we weren’t on the trail, we went fishing and hiking, and stuffed ourselves silly with some nearby farm-fresh food. Best of all, I relaxed. Really relaxed. A concept usually foreign to me.
It was just what this single mom needed to get back in the saddle again.
Though a graying mare herself, freelance writer Lynn Armitage isn’t ready for pasture quite yet. She is an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.