Matt has led – and I have joined him – on many marriage retreats but we have never before been the students on one. I have to say, it was absolutely wonderful to be the recipient of new information that will help us not only in our marriage, but in our parenting as well. The material covered over our time at Great Wolf Lodge is not yet approved for Matt to share on the marriage retreats he’ll lead once we get settled into our next duty station, but will hopefully be by the time we get there. (With the Army there are rules, rules, and more rules about what can and can’t be done using certain funds.)
In addition to having a blast being the students at a marriage retreat, we were also, for the first and possibly only time in this career, placed into a room for three days with 30-some other Chaplain couples, who have all experienced the same thing over the past 6-7 years. The Chaplain is the only guy with that kind of job in the unit. Everyone else sort of knows what everyone else’s job is and what their jobs entail, and they are all sort of similar. And for some positions, people are moved around, back and forth, allowing soldiers to gain experience at different jobs. For the chaplain, he’s the only one who really knows what a Chaplain’s job is, what it’s like to hear the hurts of everyone around him, and it can leave him (or her) feeling a bit isolated. As the Chaplain’s wife, I feel that isolation at times, too, when people who haven’t gotten to know me yet assume that I will act someway or another toward them as a result of my husband’s job. (I have actually had one soldier’s wife completely stop a conversation we were both enjoying as soon as she found out I was a Chaplain’s wife. She cursed, apologized for cursing, and made a very quick getaway leaving me standing there wondering what had just happened.) Because of this, Chaplain Spouses’ Groups all over the world flourish because it is comforting to sit around a table or a living room with a few other people who know the isolation that can come with this job. Matt and I don’t often feel this too deeply because we end up making deep connections with people everywhere we go… we’ve been blessed to find amazing, incredible people everywhere we’ve been.
There was something very surreal, special, about being in a room full of people who get it. Unless Matt gets assigned to the school-house, we don’t expect to have that happen again and we really appreciated our opportunity.
All that to say, we had a great weekend and our kids enjoyed the venue!
If you have ever been to a waterpark, you might understand why I didn’t have my cellphone or camera on me most of the time. I had no desire for either of those items to get wet or moisture in them, so they spent most of the time in my room. Here are a few that don’t necessarily give the best idea of how we spent most of our time, but it’s what I got!
For this picture I had nostalgia wash over me as I saw the NC flag and the US flag waving in the breeze. The building resembles Edelweiss in some ways, and for a few moments I felt a little homesick for Bavaria. Parker was way too excited about swimming and he absolutely could not eat his lunch. Matt dropped it off in the room’s mini-fridge and we reheated it for him later. After our swimming session he tried to eat but exhaustion got the better of him and this is how he ended up.Many of you know, Hayden has a very serious sensitivity to chlorine. (At least, he’s convinced it’s chlorine. Matt and I don’t know what causes the reaction but we don’t think it’s chlorine.) We were really proud of him because he swam the first day and had a blast. He didn’t have a reaction, and so I thought for sure he’d swim the second and third days. I guess he didn’t want to press his luck because he refused to get in. He sat by the pool and read or played his iPod while the rest of us played in the water. I guess as long as he’s not whining that’s okay, but it did annoy me a little that he wouldn’t swim.
Either way, the rest of us had fun, and Bailey even got me on one of the more adventurous rides. I hated it. That stinker…