I took my first solo trip in well over a decade to spend two days with my bestie.
I left The Barren behind to care for the cats, himself and the house while I flew away to have a girls weekend. It wasn't the girls weekend of movie types, there was no spa, or wine country or even a road trip. It was a cheap easy airplane ticket purchased back in September, on a whim with hopes of having some time with a friend.
It worked. My bestie put me up in her newly built studio in the backyard. I arrived between "bomb cyclone" storms hammering my state. I am a nervous flyer, so the idea of flying in storms was not ideal, but I love my bestie and I realllllllllly wanted to girl time, some me time. I lucked out, and the rain and wind had stopped for an hour while I flew there and an hour while I flew home.
We spent the time walking the dog, chatting and squeezed in one museum visit 💓
There was also shuttling her hubby and kiddo to practices and grocery shopping.
Most of our time was chatting; bemoaning marriage challenges and life roadblocks. There is something unique and beautiful about a friend that knows you, and has known you for decades. They spot when you are bull-shiting yourself, and when you are downplaying something. We both are vacillating with extreme creative joy and feelings of self doubt. Struggling to find time to sit with ourselves and accepting our new bodies as we walk this new menopause path. She is facing an empty nest this summer and how dramatically that will change her life and how much of her current life has been taken over with others schedules and expectations.
It was a gift to listen to her and her concerns for her kid and pre-college. I found myself in a rare position, I was able to offer help with things that are just too much to add to her plate. When I shared this with The Barren I was greeted with a huge smile and I think the two of us felt empowered in a small way. A way that would really matter to this kiddo.
When she was pregnant with this human, I was trying and failing to stay pregnant. In many ways her child is another time marker, both The Barren and I adore this human and we are overjoyed to be a person they call with questions and someone they can count on. My bestie and I were the same age her kiddo is when we first met...and that magic is not overlooked.
We walked the dog in large open parks in the mist and drizzle, around neighborhoods and chatted, never finding a moment without a topic to muse about. We shared meals and caffeine and window shopped in places near her home, but she never had time to explore. It was an amazing two days, we were both left exhausted and partially healed from the time we had lost over the last years in isolation. It was bitter sweet to say goodbye in the pre-dawn airport drop-off.
We hope to meet somewhere between our two homes in the next 6months or so...life is riding us both hard these days and so it is fun to place a marker for another weekend out into the universe. (we chat almost daily via text, but spending time together is hard to come by)
When I lined up to board the plane, I got a weird feeling, I couldn't really place it but something was strange. Something was off...I brushed it aside and got my seat. It was announced that it was a full plane, so I moved from the aisle to the middle seat in my row. Someone was already at the window, when another person asked if the aisle seat was taken I said "nope, it is all yours".
After seeing everyone file onto the plane, and hear that it was full I realized what was off...
the WHOLE plane, aside from me and a disabled couple at the front row, was students.
I found myself sitting between two people that were clearly in college, and I sat there with nothing in my hands but my own hands. No phone, no tablet, no book or magazine...no distraction just my own hand to hold. My mind started to do math, I could be either of these peoples mother, I was old enough and they were the right age. I was flying in a live action reminder of an alternative timeline. The plane cabin was silent, everyone was plugged into something...meanwhile, I pretended to sleep, I pretended to make mental notes, mostly I was trying to distract myself for the hour long flight home and not collapse into a puddle of tears thinking about all the what-ifs.... Yep, it is an hour long flight, what a luxury.
It was a long weekend, The Barren picked me up and we got breakfast. As we were sipping tea while it drizzled he asked me what my favorite part of the trip was, did something create a core memory?
I started to laugh and told him that it was AMAZING to have a hot flash with my bestie.
We were walking in the museum gallery, both of us doing our own looking. Then I realized I was warm, then warmer, then dripping sweat, each stage removing more and more layers of clothing. Meanwhile my bestie was experiencing a similar thing on the opposite side of the room. We met on a viewing bench, to both dig into our purses to grab a hair tie and pull our hair off our necks. giggling about how we were carrying our coats in our arms and it looked like we were dragging blankets from gallery to gallery. That, that will stay with me forever....not feeling alone, laughing and feeling vulnerable together, we understood each other perfectly without saying a word.