“Hold on, Mom,” she says, dismounting from her pink bicycle again. She crouches down, her face inches from the ground. “This is important,” she tells me. We’re on one of our walks through the neighborhood, and already we’ve paused like this many times. We’ve examined pill bugs and spider webs, smooth black rocks and purple-flowered weeds, cracks in the sidewalk and one neighbor’s coral-colored roses. I feel the impatience begin to rise in my throat, the impulse to tell her, “Charlotte, get back on your bike. We need to keep going.”
It's all over the internet, so it must be true. The eight-hour workday—the old 9-to-5 office shift—is obsolete. And while more companies than ever are offering flexible office hours and more work-from-home perks, there are still plenty of businesses stubbornly clinging to the traditional 40-hour workweek.
Charlie has wondered over to where I sit on the porch with a handful of feverfew flowers. "Can we make tea from these, Mom?" she asks. Now that's she's four, she doesn't forget what I tell her, and she's curious about everything in the garden. That's why she knows and remembers what I told her about making tea with feverfew leaves, and she wants me to do it with her.
I was hugely pregnant with my second child in August 2016, and two and a half hours in the car sounded like the opposite of fun. But the weekend promised at the end of the trip was enough to make me tumble my swollen body into Haley's car and drive the 92 miles from Boise to McCall, Idaho. It was time for our first writing retreat.