How much girlfriend time do you get?
July 12, 2011
© Erin Zammett Ruddy
I spent last weekend on the eastern end of Long Island with four girlfriends (and without children or significant others). It was, in a word, magical. Being with my girls, most of whom I’ve been hanging with since childhood, was so rejuvenating and soul-nourishing and just plain fun that I can’t believe I waited this long to do it. Friday and Saturday were the first consecutive nights I’ve ever spent away from my kids and/or Nick that didn’t involve a: a cancer thing or b: a wedding thing (and I’ve only had a handful of those things since the kids were born). In other words, it was something I did for no other reason than I wanted to do it. Imagine that? And being with friends I’ve known since before we wore bras or makeup meant there was absolutely no pressure to be anything but myself (and that I didn’t wear a bra or makeup the entire time). While we did cover some serious topics—relationships, family, Bethenny Frankel—we mostly just chilled and reverted back to the lazy days of summer. I.e., riding bikes, lying on the beach, eating ice cream and staying in our bathing suits way past dark. Just what the doctor ordered.
The highlights (hard to pick since the entire 48 hours rocked):
1. I arrived Friday afternoon and the girls wanted to do a yoga class. Not being a yogi myself, I decided to join them in town but walk around instead. I loved going into little shops with tiny trinkets and fancy clothes and LIFE IS A BEACH signs and not worrying about anyone knocking anything over. I found a cool vintage dress shop, bought a long, flowing print dress that was marked down about 75 percent (because it had been marked up about 100 percent), and then found a nice local seamstress who agreed to sew a few new buttons on for pennies. Pretty neat, right?
2. While I was waiting for my dress to be tailored, I sat in a restaurant, had a glass of wine and an organic beet salad (with cucumber, haricot vert, radish ice wine vinaigrette and ricotta salata—yes, I took notes!) and read my book. I’m reading—and loving—The Art of Forgetting, which happens to be written by a friend, Camille Noe Pagan. And it happens to be about friendship so it was the perfect companion.
3. Sleeping till 9:30 on Saturday morning.
4. Biking through the town and on the amazingly tranquil and beautiful tree-lined streets. Nothing makes me feel more alive and more kid-like than riding a bike. And the thigh workout didn’t hurt.
5. Swimming in the ocean. We were way out east on the Atlantic and the waves were insane. Like crazy big. The 33-year-old mom and boring wife lady in me was admittedly not jazzed about the whole thing (maybe I’ll just stay on the blanket and read a chapter I thought…). But when I watched Gina and Sarah dive in confidently and swim (as fast as they possibly could) past the break (the meat-grinder as Sarah called it) I had to join them. I was a freakin’ lifeguard for crying out loud and I love the ocean. So in I went. The water was cold (68 degrees the lifeguard stand said) but the swimming (i.e., negotiating the waves and the riptide) was so intense that you didn’t even notice. We swam out farther than anyone and just floated over the giant waves and I couldn’t help but feel like a rockstar.
6. Eating a lazy lunch (I think we sat around the table for two hours) that featured fresh salad greens from the farmer’s market, insanely good cheeses, mushroom and fig spreads, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and, yes, a little vino.
7. After lunch we rode bikes into town for an ice cream cone. As I’ve said before, I don’t have a huge sweet tooth and could honestly live without eat ice cream, but a few times a year I love a serious cone. The double chocolate fudge brownie did not disappoint.
8. Staying on the beach until 8:30 Saturday night. All the people were gone. The air was still warm. There wasn’t a single bug. We talked, we laughed, we tried crazy yoga poses.
Pretty peaceful, right?
Maybe I wouldn't suck at yoga afterall!
9. After eating a chill dinner (the leftover cheese and spreads and breads from lunch), we had an impromptu dance party that involved more Katy Perry and Taio Cruz than I’d like to admit (but lots of Biggie Smalls, which balanced it out…). Old school fun that you just can’t plan.
Shockingly, I'm not embarrassed about this photo at all :)
10. Sleeping till 9:30 on Sunday morning.
11. Sunday we hit a surf shop where we rented stand-up paddle boards. Have you guys seen this? It’s amazing. We rented them for two hours, which came with an instructor and a guided tour. We launched in a big salt-water pond and, once we got our sea legs, paddled all the way across to the opposite shore where we parked our boards and crossed the beach into the ocean for a dip. Once again, rockstar.
12. Before I headed home, we dropped into a restaurant for Lobster rolls and fries. Lobster rolls and fries. Enough said.
Pretty awesome, right? I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. And thanks to Nick, I came home to happy, well-fed and well-rested kids and a clean (enough) house. Nick had been begging me to get away by myself (I really needed a break) and he made it easy for me, which means…I’ll probably do it again! It was honestly one of those things you don’t know you’re missing until you do it. Girlfriend time is so important and I think it’s one of the first things we cut down on when we have kids. But we shouldn’t! How often do you get together with friends? Ever go on a girls’ trip? Do you find it as soul-nourishing as I did?