Running Parallel

I did something last week that I never do. Not ever. 

I left my husband snuggly at home with his daily breadwinning and took the kids camping. Without him.

We met my parents and sister and her husband in Yosemite National Park and spent a week in the dirt, the snow-melt and the pine-needles. We hiked and we splashed in the Merced and we ate more than our share (anyone’s share actually) of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers.

We camp several times a year. Oh yes we do with a Girl Scout at home. But do I ever leave him to go on a “vacation” without him? No. I travel often but most of the time it’s for a conference or work-related thing. And even so, it’s never for that long. I never choose to grab the kids and go because I want to spend

the memories and experiences together. It’s something that is innate in me.


But he had to work and I wanted to move my legs and go on an adventure.

And as I walked along a trail on Friday, silently, fingers hooked in the straps of my daypack I thought how much I had needed this but would have never known it had I stayed at home. And how much my girls needed it.

How much we needed the breath.

Needed the space.

Needed the openness of outside.

We are outside-people and I’ve raised my girls to love tree bark and beetles and river rocks and clouds and so being outside is a sanctuary for each of us. It is the place to move and stretch limbs out far. It is where we belong. And I’d forgotten that already this summer.

And I have this man who encourages me to go, to take our daughters on adventures when possible.


Sometimes our adventures take us places where we see the same things and take the same photos. But sometimes he and I run parallel to one another, both doing the things we are called to do, both living well and it has taken me forever to understand that this is okay.

I was raised in a church culture that didn’t model this, where everything was done “as a family” and that the idea of “running parallel” to one another was absolutely foreign. So for me, this is a learned thing.

So on Sunday, after seven hours of driving, us three girls pulled into our driveway and he was waiting. We brought all the dusty, camp-smoky things inside and I began the task of after-camping-laundry. He stood in the kitchen and made spaghetti sauce and I pulled up a chair and sipped a glass of wine. And we told stories.

He told me about the week at work and all the friends who had him over for dinner each night. I told him about the bear we saw and the waterfalls and the new tent he hasn’t even had the pleasure of sleeping in.


And I get it. A little bit of space is good sometimes. It makes us appreciate each other so much more and a little bit of missing the other isn’t a bad thing.


  1. says

    we are SO blessed that Chad
    blessed us
    with your presence last week!
    was deeply missed…
    but he was also celebrated in that he actively
    you adventure
    that resulted in our joy!
    all my love,

  2. Johanna Siebert says

    It was such a fun trip….living in Yosemite Valley for a week never disappoints. Many thanks to Chad for encouraging you girls to come with us…he gave us all a gift of treasured memories!

  3. says

    You capture my heart with these words. My hubby will be in training in another state next week and I got invited to fly to the Caribbean. . . so I’m going. I also grew up in a culture where running parallel was not modeled and I hadn’t thought of this as to why I’m feeling guilty. But my soul needs this. I need a week soaking up God’s fresh sun, water, with great friends. Thank you for permission. :)

  4. Tara says

    J and I have been traveling apart and together a lot in the last few months. This is not the norm and I felt alone, guilty even. We enjoy adventures together, to a point where for most of our marriage we have been eachothers only Best Friend. In the last two years we started to invest in other people, friends, this can go bad so we were careful but we took in the people who naturally fell into our lives and we are better for doing this. I know get my space, my own adventures and he does too. We have more to share with eachother and more excitement in our day to day. Thanks for putting a word to it, Parallel. It’s a part of any healthy relationship.

  5. says

    Perfection – right here! And I get the hesitation based on upbringing/background. Me, too! But my kids wanted to go to family camp on Catalina Island when they were teens. And my husband was having none of it – he loves Jesus, too, but if he was going to take a week of vacation, he didn’t want to go to any meetings. Period. So two summers in a row, I took them without him. And it was great for us, too. We need to learn to be okay with the truth that we’re two different people, often with different schedules, almost always with differing ideas of what’s needed at a given moment in time. Running parallel is a perfect picture. Thanks so much, Sarah. And thanks to Kristen Howerton who pointed me to you today.

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