This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get away with three of my closest friends from college. We escaped for a fantastic four days, for the third year in a row.
We got the idea from an article in Real Simple a few years back—and I think we’re all still in shock that we’re actually making it happen. The deets of what we call our "mystery trips": there are four of us who commit to a long weekend each year and a set per-person budget that has to cover all travel, lodging, food, etc. for all four of us. One person among us is the planner each year—booking everyone’s travel, making lodging and meal reservations, and, oh, coordinating a spa day as well—and reveals the details of where we'll be going and what we'll be doing just a week in advance. In the past, we’ve headed to a cabin in New Hampshire (I flew from NYC while the others drove from Boston and Providence), a resort in Vermont (one flew in from DC while the rest of us drove) and finally a farmhouse situated on a vineyard and winery in rural Virginia (three of us flew and one drove).
This year my friend Nancy was the planner, and she arranged a conference call for all of us earlier in the year, during which she revealed that she was pregnant and due in August, making our plans for a mid-September getaway near impossible. Trying to coordinate our four schedules seems to be one of the toughest parts of this annual getaway: we’re all professional women; we have an attorney, a director at a biotech firm, a physician assistant, and yours truly, an editor. We live spread out along the East coast. Two of us are married… and now two of us are pregnant. So it’s a lot of personal and professional details to coordinate, and I’m especially thankful that my husband realizes how important this trip is to me and that he steps up to play full-time caregiver for our two sons without (much) complaint while I’m gone.
A few days before the trip this time around, I started questioning whether I should actually go. While I don’t have horrendous morning sickness like many women I know, I have plenty of other first trimester issues like the need for constant pee breaks, low-level nausea, and in my particular case, serious pregnancy-induced insomnia and middle-of-the-night hunger pangs. As usual, on this trip, we’d be sharing rooms—and beds. It’s hard enough to put my husband through my tossing and turning at night and my 2 am trips to the kitchen in search of something that will make me feel like I’m no longer starving (seriously, what’s with my need to eat in the middle of the night now?), and my regular awake hours of 2-4 am, but to do that to a good friend? Yeesh. Fortunately, I got over myself and realized that my friends would much rather have me there than be guaranteed a good night’s sleep without me.
And it was just as lovely to see these three women as I thought it would be. Nancy and I were regularly on the hunt for bathrooms and water fountains together, and she held me steady when I started feeling lightheaded on our tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and guided me to a bench (which made me feel kind of lame at the time, given that she’s the one who actually looks pregnant; I’m just looking a bit chubby at the moment). We dished about pregnancy symptoms, talked about birth plans and breastfeeding, and of course, hit a super cute baby and maternity shop, Petit Bebe, during our afternoon in Charlottesville. And then all of us did what we have always done since we met on the first day of college 16 years ago—we gossiped, we teased each other, we talked about meaningful changes in our lives (babies and grad school plans among them), and we reveled in the fact that we’re still good friends after all this time. Sara and MacKenzie, the non-pregnant among us, were instructed to drink for all four of us at our stop at the Veritas winery tasting room (we were staying at the gorgeous farmhouse on the property), while Nancy and I were offered sniffs of what smelled like some really delicious Virginia wines. In short, it was an incredible weekend with incredible friends, and it felt like a special treat to get to share a few moments of pregnancy with Nancy.
How do you keep in touch with your girlfriends, especially if you live apart?