I spent this past weekend doing something that has literally been I think eight or nine years in the making: I went away with two of my very good friends. How completely unremarkable is that? Ever since we became mothers, we spoke and started to plan but amazingly never actually pulled together one single kid-free, husband-free moment in that entire time. We held our friendship together through play dates and birthday parties, holidays, and whispered phone calls in the middle of nap time, and work time. We had laughed and shared in each others’ lives, but I don’t think we’d legitimately finished a complete and honest thought with each other in years. That is until this weekend.
We went somewhere relatively unremarkable that was within 1-2 hours of all of us. And it didn’t really matter where we were, because when we got there we followed a simple formula that we could’ve used in just about any spot in the country: we walked and talked. Truly, that was it. We were completely agenda-less with ourselves and each other for an entire 24 hours. To tell you that it was liberating and clarity inducing and truly therapeutic in every sense of the word would legitimately be an understatement.
There are many things that I love about being a mother and specifically my children’s mother, but something that is always there that I think I underestimated in how particularly challenging it can feel on a day to day basis, is that pervasive pace that children somewhat instinctively set for the day of what is coming next? What’s the plan? Where are we going? How long till we are there? When we get there, what will we do? Maybe I’m a crappy parent for overly managing the expectation that I can answer those questions and that this is why they constantly ask them. Or maybe they just ask them because they are 3 and 5. But either way, I totally undervalued how much this was starting to wear on me.
And so we met up and we walked. And when we got hungry we ate. And then we walked some more. And if we were tired, we sat on a bench. If we saw a market or store that looked interesting, we went inside; not to buy anything, but just because. And then we wandered aimlessly about the markets and stores just browsing. We didn’t look at our watches for nearly the entire afternoon. When we realized at 6:30pm that we wanted our toes painted, we dipped into the nearest salon and painted them. And the whole time we talked and actively listened to each other. We shared our stories and finished thoughts that had been left unfinished maybe for 8+ years or maybe just for 8+ minutes.
We meandered and sauntered and laughed and ate. It was truly heavenly. The next morning I woke up at 6:34 am which frustrated me to no end on my one kid-free morning so I went back to bed and slept until 9 am. It was delightful. We ate brunch and there was more talking and strolling and strawberry butter. And after just about 24 hours together it was time to part ways again. I felt completely restored.
I was left with some sharp reminders of seemingly obvious stuff that I had clearly forgotten in recent times. Firstly, I was reminded of the importance of having friends. Not particularly of the need to have a lot of them or to do spectacular things with the ones you have, but just one or two really good folks, the ones who you can spend a whole day with doing absolutely nothing and everything at the same time.
And last but not least, I was reminded of the friend I’d missed the most: me. When I returned home to my family I felt so calm and refreshed. I felt so humbled and grateful for them. My brief time away had been truly good for all of us. Indeed good friends and family restore your soul and help put mommies back together, even mommies who might not realize the extent to which they had started to become a bit undone or broken.