Michael, Gabriel, and I just spent the weekend up at Deep Creek Lake in MD with the other couples who are part of the Teams of Our Lady movement. (Just a short note of description: this is a Catholic organization dedicated to fostering the spirituality of married couples and their families, that originated in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in France in the 1940s, hence the Teams of "Our Lady" name. It consists of monthly group meetings with the other couples, where we do prayer, sharing, and a book study on Catholic or marital topics of interest. During the rest of the month each couple commits to a variety of "endeavors" like praying together and with the children, reading Scripture daily, and meeting together at least once a month for an official "sit down" to discuss the state of the marriage, any issues that might need to be addressed, etc. It's a great thing and has helped Michael and I a lot as we have begun our married life together!)
This weekend was our yearly "retreat" together. I put this in quotes because it was not your traditional meditative, silent, long-walks-in-the-woods, type retreat. We went with seven couples and eight children under the age of two, because most of these babies have never been away overnight from Mom and Dad and weren't ready to start that quite yet, but we still wanted to try to "get away". We were housed in a beautiful lake house free, thanks to the generosity of our "mentor couple" in Teams, and I think we really did "retreat" a bit! I think we all went with very low expectations of how much we would actually be able to do, other than just hang around together. The kids were bumping around the living room during the talks, there were babies crying intermittently, but for the most part, we were able to do our group discussions, activities, and even allow each couple a little bit of alone time without their children. Meals were chaotic, the weather was a bit gloomy, and Mass involved synthesizer "smooth jazz" as prelude music, but it was a good weekend despite all that. Mostly I feel blessed to be a part of such an awesome group of young couples who feel like my new extended family.