Monday, September 20, 2010

Everyday Life: Returning

"Just go," my husband's voice pressed into the phone, reassuring, steady, like always.

He heard the disappointment, the strain in my own tone.

"We'll be fine," he persuaded. "You need to go. So go."

Last Thursday, two days before I was supposed to head out of town for a girls' weekend with some of my closest girlfriends from college, Baby E developed a double ear infection.

And though he was feeling better Friday after his chiropractic adjustment, I was still flipping in between going and staying ... good friends or sick baby ... responsibility or relaxation ...

And John knew the thoughts flittering through my head, but better, he knew what was going on in my heart. So he pressed on for me to go once I told him E was feeling better, though he was still clingy and a bit cranky.

So after writing last Thursday a very raw, very vulnerable post about friendships and the need to know and be known, I headed off to the weekend retreat, leaving my brave husband home with the boys.

And, oh, did I need that.

I needed it in ways I didn't know, and I needed it in ways I don't completely understand.

While we girls happily indulged conversation with a side of pumpkin ale topped with warm caramel marshmallows after a dinner out on the town Friday night, I found my soul and my mind and my heart feasting, too -- completely reveling in laughter and warmth and comfort.

Because there's nothing quite like being in the presence of women who've seen you at your lowest, your highest and your in between and knowing that you're still loved.

And there's nothing quite as reassuring as being able to come together, having grown incredibly since our college days, and realizing that just because we've grown up doesn't mean we've grown apart.

And it's oh-so refreshing to discover the new interests shared, the new stories that interweave seamlessly into old memories that are too good to let sit undisturbed in your mind.

It's brilliant the way the new threads braid, blend into the old ones, making a worn pattern vibrant again without compromising what made the design so fabulous in the first place.

As I drove home from our time spent together, soft splashes of sunlight spilling through clouds, streaming in through my dashboard and warming chilly fingers, my heart realized that sometimes going doesn't mean just leaving.

It also means returning.

And when the arms are welcoming and warm and the conversations are even warmer, returning sometimes feels like you've never left at all.

{Also, old friends who knew you when you had way weirder ideas than posing with umbrellas for a 365 Photo Challenge, don't bat an eye after you insist they all pose in front of a prairie with opened umbrellas while it is not raining. Thanks for that, ladies.}


  1. It's amazing how filling it is to spend time with "old" friends. I've been so lonely for friendship and missing the friends I've left behind in exchange for this new adventure. My parents came and I kept saying to myself, "People who know me and love me are coming!" Their visit was filling (draining for my feet, but they don't count).

    A surprise visit from a college friend that I haven't seen for years further filled my tank. Answering the basic questions about where I've been, where I've worked, what life has been like helped me reflect on the journey.

    A former co-worker and friend came to town for an interview and we tried a Lebanese restaurant. Then we explored Annapolis and it was fun to hear her exclaim at its beauty and laugh when we drove in circles. More filling.

    I think I can make it through until the next refilling. And hopefully, I will find new friends who will be filling.

  2. Sometimes, we just need a little time to rejuvinate. It helps when that time is with people who totally accept you and love you. I don't think there is anything wrong with indulging in that moment every once in awhile. I think it makes you a better mother and wife when you return because you feel so much better about yourself. When we keep our own well filled, we can do so much more to help others. When we are empty, even the simple things can be harder to accomplish. It sounds like you had a wonderful, much needed break.

  3. This warmed my heart. It was so nice seeing you and I'm glad you made it. Aren't we cute little grown ups now? We'll have to do this again sooner rather than later.

  4. Ha! I was wondering about that shot. It's fabulous by the way. I think it ought to be blown up and framed. I'm glad you got a night out and were able to relax and recharge. You deserve it.

  5. True friendships like that are so important. They fill in the holes in our lives that we didn't even know were missing.

  6. I love the umbrellas! And pumpkin ale and caramel marshmallows... oh my.


  7. I'm so glad you had that time :) (and that your husband understood and pushed you out the door!)
    Lovely umbrella photo!

  8. Oh wow. What a husband you have there Hy! And what a great group of old friends. I sure am missing mine :-), especially after this post.

  9. I am so jealous of your girls weekend! Between you and Corinne with her Mother's Plunge, I'm feeling all alone and boring over here! But...this is not about me!

    Anyway, I am so glad you had a good and fulfilling time with your girls! I do think it's very important to talk and be heard and spend time with friends. And so often we don't because we're tending to the needs of our family. I'm so glad that you decided to go! And I love your unbrella pieces! xo

  10. Connecting with old friends is always a wonderful thing. And as a Mama, I have found that it helps to recharge me, refresh me, and help me to refocus.

    Ealier this month, the hubby and I took our daughter to the season opening football game for my alma mater. We were joined by my dearest friend and her father. Ten years to the day we attended our first game as mere freshman, we were there together again. We laughed, reminisced, and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

    The promise of a visit with her had gotten me thru a particularly diffuclt week, and the joy from the visit still has been smiling.

  11. I love the umbrella shot! So glad you where able to refresh your soul and enjoy some great time with good friends! I understand where you were coming from, not wanting to leave, but your soul kind of needed the time away! Since we've moved to our current city, I've struggled to find close friends, so that time I'm anxiously waiting October and some time with old friends and family we don't see often! I'm loving your 365 by the way!

  12. Your husband sounds like my husband. He knows when I want to linger at home and then he knows when my heart longs for a little more.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your time with your friends. Old friends are my favorite kind of friends. Maybe because I have a hard time opening up. If you are anything like me you can meet people with ease, but opening up... that is a different story.

    And yes coming home after that is even better. Great umbrella shot!!!

  13. Awww I'm so glad that you went AND that you had fun. Those times all about you are so important for you.

    And it wasn't raining when you took that picture? That cracks me up!

  14. Connecting again with your friends does mend some holes in your spirit. It is a necessary retreat that many of us need to take. Me included :) I'm so glad that you had a good, spirit refreshing time with your friends. It's wonderful that your husband is so supportive of helping you feel whole on every level. He's a keeper :)

  15. sounds like the perfect weekend:) so glad you seized the opportunity to be refreshed!

    hoping baby e is recovered, too. it's good to lets dads be dads and tag out every now and again. if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, and all that;)

  16. Your girls weekend sounds rejuvenating. Sometimes, in the daily process of nurturing our families, we forget how much we need to nurture ourselves.


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Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.