I spent the weekend in a country house surrounded by tall trees and two lakes. Inside, there were two hot tubs, a foosball table and a mirrored master bedroom with a bed that hung and swung. I kid you not. Glory and kitch all in one, the perfect spot for Chick Weekend 2008.
Five out of seven of us regulars were present, and as we counted up the years we think the tradition started in 1996. Time surely has passed, because this time around we were all pretty wiped by 11 p.m. That was not the case 12 years ago, when only half of us were mothers.
While we packed Scrabble and art supplies and computers, those things went untouched. We pretty much sat in the living room, or the hot tub, and talked – about our children, who range in age from college to pre-school, our partners, our parents, our jobs, our hopes. Because we lived on the same block, or in the same 'hood, for so many years, we used to catch up daily, or weekly. We were neighbors who ate together, gathered for late nights on the porches, lent a hand on home improvement. We survived the devastation of a tornado in 1998 together. We've consoled each other through everything from divorces to death. And we've cried each time one of us moves away. I love these women so much that it didn't even bother me when they relentlessly mocked the love I have for my flock of guinea fowl.
Praise to my husband for always supporting my escapes. He and Maria usually get into some serious fun and home maintenance when I am gone. (There's a 5-gallon bucket on the porch that is nearly full of acorns. It is evidence of her industriousness and his cleverness.)
I miss my little family when I am gone and I always struggle with some guilt about leaving. But spending time with old friends is rejuvenating to my often worn-out self, and coming home to a loudly shouted "Mami!'' and the strongest hugs ever reminds me that maybe I need to go away a little more often.
If you've never run off for the weekend with the friends you love, can I just say: "Go, Mom, Go!"