My husband and I recently spent a weekend away with two other couples who have been long-time friends. We’d all been planning this couple’s trip for months. At one point, due to a job change, my husband and I weren’t even sure we’d be able to go. Honestly, since there are 6 kids between three couples, I think everyone expected some proverbial shoe to drop. Let’s face it, nothing is predictable when it comes to being parents.
I’m happy to report we all made it there and had a fabulous weekend. As we enjoyed the beauty of upstate New York during peak foliage season, we shared a lot of laughs, a few tears (read: my tears), and copious amounts of wine. At the risk of sounding cliche, we made some memories that will warm our hearts for many years. Really, I mean it. And, during our couple’s trip, I learned some lessons:
Just do it: Sometimes someone just needs to take the first leap and bring up the idea. (Thank you to the couple who did just that). Let me tell you, there will never ever ever be the “perfect” time to go away. Our lives are just too busy and if you start to overthink it, you’ll never agree on anything. You don’t need a special occasion, just do it. In fact, a server inquired at dinner one evening what we were celebrating. The answer? “Being friends.” While we had a good laugh at the delivery (you had to be there), it was the honest truth.
It doesn’t need to be fancy: I know some couples may enjoy a week-long cruise together, or jaunting off on a 5-hour flight to a fun metropolitan area. Maybe one day when our kids are older and they aren’t bleeding our bank and time accounts dry we can do that. But for now, a quick local weekend away within driving distance was perfection. In New England and the Northeast, we are privileged to be surrounded by so many beautiful areas within driving distance. Take advantage of it!
Your friends are always your friends: Sometimes it feels like we don’t get to see each other much. We work, we have kids similar in age. We are all in the same season of life: the BUSY one. When we do see each other it’s usually in the presence of our kids who also enjoy each other’s company (side note: it’s awesome to watch your friends’ kids become your kids’ friends). But with that come what feels like unending interruptions to any conversation. This weekend reminded me our friends are still OUR friends. Now we just have a few bags under our eyes and some wrinkles to show for our life experience. Yes, beneath all of that adulting stuff, we are still the same people that became friends all those years ago.
Children can be the center of our lives, but don’t have to define 100% of who we are: Yes, we talked about our children over the weekend. In fact, I had a very raw, open moment of concern (see: tears mentioned earlier) for one of my kids early on in the trip. The best thing I could have done was talk about it with our friends (thank you to my husband for encouraging that I start that conversation). Stories were shared, advice was given, support was offered, and I was able to move forward. And while our kids were the topic of conversation here and there, I realized afterward that they weren’t an overarching theme of our trip at any point. Pedaling back to my previous point, we spent a lot of time going back to our roots and talking about US and it felt good.
We aren’t getting any younger, but that’s not all bad news: Do I wish I had the time, the body, the energy, and lack of gray hair I had 10 years ago? You bet. Do I mind that that we all turned in earlier than we used to start our nights out back in the day? Not really. I mean, sure I wish I had an endless supply of energy, but frankly getting a good night’s sleep is precious. We all appreciate now what we didn’t appreciate then and we’re ok with that.
Wine, beer, good food, and fresh air never hurt anyone: I mean, do I need to really elaborate on this. Let’s just say kicking back, relaxing, reconnecting, and growing our inside joke collection was amazingly refreshing for all of us.
There you have it. My best advice: Take a couple’s trip. If you can, reach out to your friends, do something, spend time together. Remember who you are. You won’t regret it.