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Sometimes Reconnecting Means Disconnecting

As a mom and a dentist, I am constantly running through my daily to-do list, figuring what patient or exam I need to run to next, and deciding what fire to put out. I’m juggling hats, jobs, and a stack of responsibilities. Some days I visualize myself as a Chinese acrobat perched on top of a rickety stack of chairs, balancing 10 plates on my head. Sometimes life gets so hectic that even having simple one-on-one conversations seems impossible on busy days.

When I recently traveled to Coffeyville, KS to celebrate my dear grandmother’s 90th birthday. I noticed what was conspicuously absent from the weekend of fun was my cell phone, tablet, and computer. Instead I filled my weekend with true engagement, conversation, eye-to-eye discussions with my family, listening to each other without worrying about the next thing, reminiscing about childhood memories with my cousins who are spread throughout the world, and being completely “in the moment.”

We had fun times together as a family; we honored her with 5 parties in 3 days, hosted her friends, relatives, and church family at a reception, and enjoyed times together.

What was best was the simplistic joy of sharing the joy of our matriarch’s 90 trips around the sun, but also reveling in the pleasures of family in small town USA. Instead of playing video games, my kids had a blast listening to my ornery uncle recount stories of his wild youth---involving accidentally driving cars through barbed wire, “surfing” on top of moving R.V.’s, and climbing the tallest building in town (the water tower) without a harness.

It was so wonderful to slow down and really enjoy my family and the precious times together. Lazy mornings luxuriating with coffee, baked goods and lengthy conversations are not something I regularly do, but it was amazing. I didn’t think that my kids would enjoy it all as much as they did, but when it came time to leave {and I started to struggle to contain my own “verklempt-ness,” I noticed my 10 year old son repeatedly going back to the same members of the family and telling them goodbye over and over again. As we drove away, I looked over at him, and noticed him huddling against the car door, trying to stifle his sobs. Of course, that led to us all becoming blithering messes. It proved to me how our souls, young and old, need this interconnection, togetherness, and space.

It’s easy to engage with those around you when celebrating big events and you have set aside time in your calendar. But how do you connect? Do you schedule a time? Book a weekend away or a stay-cation?

How do you recharge after a grueling day or week at the office?

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