"Mommy, don't run away," my daughter begs me when I tell her I will be going away overnight for two nights on a retreat for mothers. "I am not running away," I reassure her, "I am only going away. I will only be gone for two nights, and then I promise I will come straight home."

"I know you will come straight home," she explains. "But when you are five years old, and your mommy goes away, it is not called going away. It's called running away."

I had been feeling very burned-out "Tatte [Yiddish for father] will be here with you the whole time," I promise her. "There is always someone here to take care of you. Mommy is going away with some friends." I explain that although five year olds in her summer camp only had day trips, the older girls division had overnight trips, which she will also attend when she gets older. I explain that my going away is one of these trips. I am going with friends. I will not be sad. I will be having fun.

She gets excited for me. I get excited for me. I tell her about the slumber parties her grandmother used to make for me to celebrate my birthday – my mother would make lasagna and all my friends would come. We all slept in the basement, and stayed up talking and laughing all night long.

Until this conversation with my daughter, when she confronted and challenged me to justify to her why exactly I needed to go away, I had secretly been wondering the same thing myself. I had been feeling very burned-out when I saw the retreat advertised. Yet by the time the date of the retreat actually arrived, I felt ready. I had poured out my soul to G‑d and revealed to Him this secret pain I had been holding on to, and I was finally at peace.

So why was I still going? I asked myself, and I answered logically that I had made a commitment to attend the retreat when I confirmed my place, and if I made a commitment, I needed to honor it. Of course, I was welcome to pay for my place without attending, but that would be silly, I reasoned. If I was paying anyway, I might as well go and enjoy it.

Yet I knew there must be something deeper, some divine agenda for me hidden just beneath the surface of my life. G‑d had shown me the ad for the retreat when I desperately needed it, and He had shown me to path to healing only after I had committed myself to attending. I still didn't understand why I needed to go, but I knew I was going where He wanted me to be. Despite not understanding it, I accepted it.

My five-year-old daughter had opened my eyesYet my conversation with my five-year-old daughter opened my eyes to His hidden agenda. Through her persistent and insightful questioning, I was able to move beyond my confusion, and experience my own excitement. The excitement that came from deep within, from the submerged self that lay buried under the surface of my mothering self. The person I had been before I married and became her mother.

Our conversation made me realize how distant I had become from my pre-motherhood self, and it was this estrangement from my own core that had made me vulnerable to burn-out in the first place. By sending me insight into the healing process only after I committed to the retreat, He was saying, in essence, "You are more than just a mother. Just as you were a child once, you are a child still. Even now as a mother, you are still My child."

As mothers today, we always talk about the value of letting go for our children's sakes. But through this experience, I learned about another type of letting go, a letting go of our mothering self in order to rediscover whose child we really are.