Memories, new and old


I am in bed.

I am in a beautiful lake house in Vermont, three hours from my home. It’s raining out and it promises to rain for this entire long weekend.

I’m the only one in bed this early. I am very, VERY tired.

I am curled up on this unknown bed in this lovely AirBnB house on a cold but beautiful lake. The room is warm and cosy. I feel pampered. I feel safe.

Downstairs I can hear voices. They are the voices of some of the women I love the most in all the world. They are laughing, talking, questioning, sharing stories. I’ve known all of them for at least 45 years. Some I’ve known for longer.

This is my high school best friends weekend. We are eight women, all in our early 60’s. We’ve had lives, careers, families, loves won and loves lost. We are wise. We are, every single one of us, very very strong.

We are friends.

We accept each other and celebrate each other and hold each other up.

I am so tired.

Tomorrow we will venture out into the rain and ice and visit the city nearby. We will shop and walk and eat dinner and laugh, and then we’ll probably laugh some more.

Tonight I will turn out my light. I’ll lay on my side, in this wide and comfortable bed. I will listen to the music of my friends’ voices as they catch up on all the news of each other’s lives.

I feel hugged. I feel loved.

This is the magic that keeps us going.

 

Sometimes you just have to jump in.


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Last weekend I went away for a few days of fun and rejuvenation with some of my oldest friends. We are six middle aged women who have known each other since Girl Scouts, skinned knees, recess, first dates, first dances, first heartbreaks.  We got together so that we could reconnect.  In part we wanted to reconnect with each other, but I think that mostly we all needed to reconnect with ourselves.

We knew each other way back when. As one of my friends put it, “We knew each other before we became ourselves.”

It was a remarkable weekend. We laughed. A lot. We ate. A lot. We drank. Hoo, baby, and that was fun!

We kicked off our everyday selves and shed the responsibilities and expectations, just for a few short days. Days of letting go and sleeping in and acting silly in a way that middle aged ladies are not often encouraged to do.

And we went to the beach.

Now, it’s important to explain that we live in New England, where October beach days are generally spent in sweatshirts and hoods, with wool socks on our feet. We had hoped to walk on the beach, but when we packed, we were expecting rain and wind and at least a bit of New England cold.

Only this is the era of global warming.

We found ourselves walking, in our jeans and t shirts, along a sunny, hot New England beach. We collected shells and stones, and we took pictures and we looked out at the beautiful blue surf.

And eventually, we started to talk.

“Gee, it’s really hot out.”

“What a great day to swim.”

Nobody was in a bathing suit, except for one brave soul who wore her bathing suit top under her shirt.

We hadn’t come prepared. We didn’t have towels or dry clothes, never mind bathing suits.

But the waves were rolling in. The sun was shining off the water. The sand was warm, the air was balmy.

And so we did what we couldn’t possibly have skipped.

We ran into the waves in our clothes, with our middle aged bodies, laughing the whole way. And we dove and splashed and body surfed and yelped and crowed.

It was heaven.

Even when we had to make the ten minute walk back to our rented house, with our clothes dripping and our hair filled with sand, it was still pure heaven.

Sometimes you realize that life is just too short. It’s just too short and too unpredictable to miss a chance to jump in the ocean while you can.

What a wonderful moment to cherish.