Sorry to have missed posting last week. I was wrapping up the most wonderful, relaxing, and joy-filled trip with the five women that have walked through life with me for the last 35 years. (And yes, before you do the math, we started when we were 10!).
The friendship started at church with several of us in Young Marrieds Sunday School. Old school Sunday School…with panty hose, poufy ‘Flashdance’ era bangs, and our best behavior. That old school. A couple of the girls were already dutifully serving somewhere in the church and one—our funniest—came as soon as she married into our family, and somehow we all ended up together somewhere around 1983ish.
And my life has been richer and deeper ever since.
I truly can’t imagine my life to this point without their love, friendship, and support. Sometimes when we’re together and I look around the table, I still can’t believe I get to hang out with these girls.
Through the years, we’ve been through it all. We’ve shared questions about our faith, kid issues, the occasional irritating husband dilemma, aging and dying parents, career problems, financial set-backs, and everything else that is a part of life.
We’ve also shared bargain finds (as in ‘buying out’ the toy clearance section at Target one year because ‘they were such good deals.’ Never mind that we still hadn’t put away Christmas toys or that some of the toys were nowhere near age appropriate for our kids at the time—we just couldn’t pass up the deals. Note: there are undoubtedly clearanced Barbies still scattered around the attic of our former house.)
We’ve shared old wives’ tale home remedies when antibiotics didn’t cure a baby’s fourth ear infection.
And we’ve shared more meals together than we could ever begin to count.
Between us, we have 17 kids and 14 grands. In the early years as our babies came, we showered one another with gifts and encouragement and stocked refrigerators. As the kids got older, we went to more children’s birthday parties than should be considered legal…but we wouldn’t have missed them for the world. Fast forward 25ish years and we’ve since been blessed for the last 10 years to be showering each other’s kids, spouses, and new babies with gifts, encouragement, and stocked refrigerators. (Talk about a moment that makes you want to reach for the anti-wrinkle cream—celebrating the arrival of a newborn when you can still remember the day her mama was born!)
Unbelievably, all six of us have never planned a trip together, to the same place, at the same time. A few of us have gone places together, usually with a slew of kids in tow, but we just never stopped to intentionally schedule a trip for just us.
Until we did.
And we all had the time of our life.
Starting with the 6 a.m. arrival time at the airport and all the way to touchdown on our return flight, we laughed until we couldn’t breathe. Seriously.
We were only gone four days, but it was the first time in an extraordinarily long time for all of us (if ever) when all we had to be concerned with was ourselves. No spouses, kids, grands, in-laws, no one. We were so happy to be with each other on the beach as the guests of an incredibly gracious friend who shared her unbelievably gorgeous penthouse condo, we were literally giddy.
We slept when we wanted, ate when we wanted, and laughed every moment in between. We even squeezed in a few deep conversations when we all settled in for the night after a day of sun and sand. And somehow, without any sort of intentional planning on our part, each of us ended up having one-on-one conversations with one another over the few days. It did my heart so much good to really hear what was going on in each of my dear sisters’ lives without the noise of everyday obligations fighting for our attention. It reminded me the gift of open-ended time and true connection with another dear and valued soul is truly one of life’s sweetest gifts.
All that to say, our trip was short…far too short as far as we’re all concerned. And it was sweet—so much sweeter than any of us expected. And we unanimously decided it definitely won’t be our last.
Matter of fact, we’ve already got the next trip on the calendar!