It's a Girl Thing

I got real lucky last weekend. I had the amazing opportunity to spend a weekend Up North (for those of you from other areas, this is a Minnesotan term for 'close(r) to the Canadian border') with my girlfriends. We call ourselves the Odd Quad because we have known each other since high school, but we came from four very different "crowds." We intersected originally in our freshman year of high school, having all chosen to take Chinese as our foreign language option.  Naturally, as the years plodded on, many people dropped out of Chinese, it's a pretty tough language to learn, and once you've fulfilled your foreign language credits in high school, it can be difficult to build a case for sticking with it - for reasons unbeknownst to each of us, we all stuck with it.  We graduated and like people do, we went our separate ways with the intention of trying to stay in touch.

It's funny to think about this now, in our extremely connected world where geography has nothing to do with your ability to keep up with the day to day happenings of friends and (frankly) complete strangers, but email had just been catching on the year that we graduated from high school. People our age didn't carry cell phones, and what on earth was a "text"? When we called people outside of a 50 mile radius, we used this thing called long distance that you had to pay EXTRA for.  We used pens and papers to write letters, and had to make a trip to a mailbox and wait at least two days to get a written message to our friends. Then we'd wait a week or more to hear back from them (this was the cheapest method of long distance communication aside from email, but we used it because it was so much more familiar than that new fangled email. Sometimes I think of how students huddled around our PO boxes in the Student Union thumbing through handwritten envelopes, grinning at a letter from a parent, a sibling, or a great friend who was going to school across the country. I don't suppose it's very much like that anymore.)  As you can imagine, we fell out of touch.  Years later, we connected again through facebook and started getting together as close to once a month as our schedules would allow.

My husband regularly checked with me over my weekend away with these women whom I had known since I was a girl, to see how it was going, and he'd ask, "what are you guys doing up there?" I had only one answer, "talking." For 2 full days, we talked.  No TV, no music, no book reading, and (almost) no social networking (this will be addressed in a future blog post titled "Put Down the Freakin' Computers, Smartphones, and Whatnots and TALK TO THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU" or something of the like). We talked. It was just what the doctor ordered.  This confused my husband. He could not possibly imagine sitting around in a living room all weekend and just talking to his dude friends. His confusion was evident as he continued to probe, "Did you play video games? Did you go to a bar? Did you play board games?" and on and on... No. We just talked. That had really been the plan, to wear comfy clothes all weekend, and hang out, and talk. We never ran out of things to talk about. I think if we had spent another day the same way, we would have come away with even more things to talk about. Women are like this, there are always more depths to explore, there are always more layers to uncover. Our conversations ranged from grief to the most comfortable underwear, sometimes within five minutes. We flowed effortlessly through the tough topics and the lighter topics, we laughed a lot, sometimes until we cried. We remembered the girls we were, and celebrated the women we had become.

Four of us, with distinctively different high school experiences, with even MORE different adult experiences. Just to give you a flavor, one of us is a widow who is single parenting, one of us is married and has decided not to become a parent, one of us has two children and has spent the majority of the past decade somewhere other than the place the rest of us have mostly known as home (Minneapolis), and then... there's me, you KNOW me. We have adapted to a slightly more grown up version of our old friendship (emphasis on slightly... we pride ourselves on our ability to behave completely immaturely when the mood strikes). A friendship that was based on nothing more than a sincere care and love for each other and desire to know each other's stories.  We still make fun of the people we were and joke a little about how those people have given way to the people we are. We learn from each other, we laugh with each other, and we genuinely support each other in being who we authentically are (and in some ways always were).  In short, they are my SHE-roes.

As difficult as it was for me to leave my kids for the weekend, as much as I missed them, it was so important for me to get away for a short time, so that I could get BACK to me.  Sometimes as a mother, finding the time to just be YOU can feel like an indulgence, and culturally, an indulgence is too selfish. I gave in, and I'm proud of myself. These women were like a map. Reminding me that I am more than just a mom, and pointing out to me when I was and wasn't "keeping my cool." I could have done it without them, I suppose, but it wouldn't have been nearly as fun. I got real lucky last weekend.


  1. It is so important to remember yourself as a person, not just a mom or a wife. Friendships no matter how formed are some of the most important bonds one can form. I love the fact that you formed a group a long time ago, lost touch, and then came back together. It must be great to see how you have changed but also how much of the core of you was started long ago. Sounds like a great group of women....

  2. I went onmy first "girls weekend" 2 years ago. 9 of us. Yes 9. We met at work and have become really good friends outside of work. Some of us have left or other places but we still keep in touch and always will. Like your group some married, some not, some wih children and some not. We are all different ages and none of us knew each other in high school. It is the best medicine for me to spend a weekend with these women every year. And we too wear comfy clothes and talk. I hope you begin to do this at least yearly too!

  3. I also have a girls weekend ritual, in fact, this year it will be our 22nd consecutive year of getting together. We all grew up together, some since birth, others (like me) coming in to the group "late" at the age of 12. We've been through marriages, divorces, births, deaths, you name it. Our husbands know enough not to mess with the girls trip, and breath a sigh of relief when it's over (although it takes us a few days to return to "normal"). We all live apart, Chicago, Memphis, Knoxville, Twin Cities and each year we go someplace diffferent. In our early 20s it was a quick weekend trip to one of our homes, not in our mid 40s, it an extended 5-6 day trip to places like San Diego, Seattle, even Puerto Rico. The trips are priceless!!

  4. Just had dinner with my roommate from college last night. We talked for over 4 hours and my husband still doesn't understand if we had 2 days we would have talked through those too. It makes me feel like I got a massage, took a yoga class and meditated next to the ocean all in one. So, so great.

  5. Myself and four high school girlfriends spent a week together last summer at a lake cottage in Michigan. We hadn't all been together in over 20 years and yet it was like we had never been apart. We walked, talked, ate, drank, laughed and cried. It was amazing. We are lamenting that we can't get together this summer (too many graduations) but can't wait to do it again in 2012. I sent them all a copy of your blog and they all responded that it was written about us. Thank Zuckerman for Facebook, it was how we all found each other again!

  6. Oh I'm so thrilled it was rejuvenating for you and that you got to connect on a deeper level. We are a different breed than the boys. My hubby can play golf for six hours and come home with no new information from the guys he was with. It baffles me, just as it baffles him that I have the ability to talk endlessly to a dear friend. So glad you got the chance to do it all weekend!


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