Our girls’ weekend is over. I’ve got a few towels and sheets to wash, but when you look around the house, there aren’t many signs that something fabulous happened here over the past five days. If you look closely, you might see some licorice, leftover key lime pie , a few goodies on the counter and a half-full bottle of wine. WHS yearbooks are scattered on the sofa. And now there’s a framed freshman yearbook pic of one of the girls on my nightstand. The frame was a gift – the pic was a joke and having it next to my bed makes me laugh. By the end of the day most of these signs will be gone. What won’t be gone is the new memories we’ve made and how thankful I am that we made it happen. We did it! We had our girls’ weekend!
It wasn’t easy to get this girls’ weekend together. Three traveled a combined 6,000 miles each way to come to my house in the Florida Keys. One of our friends had to drop out of the trip (I hate it when life interferes with fun). There was planning, PTO days and airfare cost involved. Life was always too busy – too complicated – to schedule this reunion. It felt selfish and indulgent and we had our own families who needed us. Before we knew it, we all turned 60, had empty nests and a little more free time. Things got serious.
These girls were my life when I was growing up. We did everything together. There wasn’t anything we didn’t know about each other. For a few short, amazing days, these incredible friends were once again the center of my life. We all put our current lives on hold and just hung out together. We did what we wanted, when we wanted to do it. I am hoarse from laughing and talking so much. It was nonstop from the moment I picked them up at the airport.
We remembered things we had long forgotten and depended on each other’s memories to put the pieces together. Yearbooks and photos made us howl with laughter. We talked about our families, friends and those we miss. The life we once shared became alive again and we caught up on the last few decades. We shared and over-shared. Everyone understood each other and a little perspective snuck into our conversations. We laughed and laughed at stuff we did in high school, then admitted we were thankful that our kids were better behaved than we had been.
I’ve had people ask, “So how was it? What did you do?” Somehow telling them that we went out to eat, hung out in the pool and hot tub, had a day trip to Key West and fed the tarpon at Robbie’s just doesn’t do our reunion justice. It was fabulous! We had a blast! We connected like we’d never been apart.
But it was more than that. It’s that being apart that makes us appreciate each other even more. We all have lives that reach far beyond the life we shared together. Roles of wife, mom and grandmother overshadow everything we had once thought important. Careers and businesses charted our life’s course. There were serious bumps in the road that changed us. We’re older and wiser and we are aware that true friendship is a treasure. We know that lifelong friends are rare and we are lucky to have each other.
At the airport we said our goodbyes and I felt something so special for these forever friends. This place that hides behind my heart – my soul – is where I keep these memories. It’s my soul that gets revived when we’re together. Maybe that’s the answer for anyone who wants to know how our weekend was. Deep down in our souls, we are still those crazy high school girls. Life gets tough sometimes and there’s no place for that carefree high school girl. It takes old friends to bring out our old selves – those kinda silly, fearless and fun girls. For a few short days those girls whooped it up with each other in the Florida Keys.
We can’t let those girls sneak too far into the background – we must revive them as often as we can. We need them! So, we promised each other that we would not wait long before we plan our next get-together. I think that’s a promise we will be able to keep.
I miss them already.