The Girlfriend TripTuesday, April 27, 2010
The Self-Aware Parent
Last weekend was the girlfriend trip, one of my favorite weekends of the year. It can be a challenge to plan and not everyone can make it every year, but for as long as I can remember it has been a priority.
Some of us have made the trip while nursing an infant (the pumpers usually share a room) and some of us leave a ridiculous pile of work at the office. It's not easy to carve out time and it can be a challenge to say good bye to the family, but 10 minutes out the driveway I always remember why I need to go.
For a weekend the two names I love, Mama and Sweety, are replaced with Cathy or Cassani (what most of my friends from college call me). Two names that help me reclaim a part of myself - before the career, before the family, before the busy life.
Last weekend began with a three hour drive with Lara. We catch up on all things important and I find myself shifting into "college language" (a little slang, a little cursing). At one point I look at Lara and laughingly apologize for swearing so much. She looks at me confused and says, "I didn't even notice". We so quickly drop our careful mom language and fall back to the way we have always been.
We connect with the rest of the group, relax with a glass of wine and appreciatively acknowledge the lack of connection to time. A conversation that started at 7 p.m. can last until 2 in the morning, and our days are not "scheduled". If we feel like doing something we do it, but we don't burden our time with expectation. The only burden in the weekend is getting to a spa appointment on time or making sure we make a dinner reservation.
This group knows how to tell stories and laugh, and we make fun of each other for the stupid things we did in our 20's (and 30's). We talk about our present day experiences, and though most stories have happy endings, we have our share of tears, too. It's always a great release, a safe place to share what you are really feeling with people who have loved you your whole adult life.
The highlight of our weekend is the dance party - a girl's weekend staple. In the early days it happened twice a weekend, but as we get older we can only depend on one big night. Last weekend we had to reserve an evening for New Moon - think of it as group appreciation for the beauty of Edward Cullen (…and Jacob, too, I guess).
Dance party is always my favorite part of the weekend because it's all about letting go. We usually end up with sore muscles, a broken speaker, and sometimes bruises and cuts from attempting dance moves like the worm (or a handstand into the worm, right Hutch?).
We listen to old music and my hipper friends introduce me to more current songs. For a night my concerns and agendas are replaced by loud music and dancing, an exercise I have appreciated my whole life, even when I was a little girl listening to the radio.
When Sunday comes we are ready to return to our lives, but I always go back feeling a little different. A little more full and definitely more content. Reconnecting with Cathy Cassani helps me return to Mama and Sweety with renewed energy - they come together in harmony and I feel more whole.
As I put my daughters to bed on Sunday night I share the details from my weekend - the long nights of talking and dancing, the shopping, the pedicure, the eating out at restaurants, and the visit to the local chocolate store that results in me eating chocolate all weekend. My oldest daughter stares at me with envy and says, "Can I do all that when I'm in my 30's?"
I smile and nod, tuck them in, and make a silent wish of love for all of my daughters. A love of self so they make themselves a priority, companion love like the connection I have with their dad, and the special love of lifetime girlfriends. Friends that keep you grounded and stand by you as you rediscover yourself - on the dance floor, or in life. Friends that hold the memories and continually remind you of who you are.
I don't want to think anymore, I left my head and my heart on the dance floor. ~ Lady Gaga
I love you girls……