The girlfriend getaway: Chicago mom says just do it

This past April, I met up up with two of my best friends from my college days on the Mexican island of Isla Mujeres for a sublime break from everyday life. We spent most of our four-day break doing a whole lot of nothing: sunning ourselves on the beach, swimming in the ocean, chatting over long, drawn out dinners (that none of us prepared! Woo hoo!), sipping Coronas with lime wedges, wheeling around town in a golf cart, sleeping late. To summarize: It was heavenly.

The fact that we managed to meet up on the Isla Mujeres in the first place is nothing short of a miracle. All three of us are working moms, with insanely busy lives, bustling careers and little kids. We each could have thought up 1,000 valid excuses for not being able to make it to our little reunion on a faraway island. But who could resist?! Each of us knew we had to make it happen; if anything, for our own sanity. When was the last time we were able to talk together, without interruption? Be lazy together? Hang out into the wee hours, sharing our hopes and dreams, for our families, for ourselves (without having to dread waking up for work or pack lunch boxes the next day)?

Since Michelle and Tatyana are in NYC and I’m in Chicago, we spent a lot of time finding a destination that was an easy flight away for all of us. We settled on the Isla Mujeres since it’s only a ferry ride (yet a world away) from Cancun – where flights from both NYC and O’Hare are easy to find. Then each of us kissed our families goodbye and caught our flights to Mexico.

I was the last to arrive on the island. At 11pm, I wheeled my one small suitcase off the ferry and wandered into town. My two pals had already met up; they left a note for me to meet them at an outdoor cafe. In a wonderfully surreal moment I walked up to the cafe where my two best college friends were sitting, smiling over colorful margaritas. After hellos and hugs, we settled so quickly back into our usual camaraderie. That’s the thing about old girlfriends: you can always pick up where you left off and carry on. Never mind the marriages and divorces and five kids between the three of us; for a few days, we were girls again, sunning ourselves in our swimsuits, diving into the ocean, talking about boys (now referred to as “husbands”). It was absolute paradise.

We are planning on making our girlfriend getaway an annual appointment, as essential as a yearly mammogram. Think of how great it feels to be with your best friends. Now give them a call. Figure out a date. Choose a destination. Just do it. Our friendships are too precious to let time and distance carry them away.

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