I just got back from visiting one of my best friends in Chicago.
It wasn’t for any particular reason other than her husband was out of town, and we missed each other.
Taking a trip alone to visit a girlfriend feels different after you’re married and have children.
It feels wonderfully exciting because it doesn’t happen very often.
And it feels terrifying because your plane could nosedive into the Atlantic at any moment leaving your child motherless forever.
Because of that last part, it also feels selfish.
A few years ago (Colt was around 18-months-old) I flew in a tiny puddle jumper to go visit my friend Carla for her annual Halloween party.
The flight attendant had to shuffle the 12 passengers around so the weight was balanced.
I remained totally calm on the outside, but on the inside I was thinking…
WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING??!!!! I am going to die on this lawn mower with wings and leave my sweet baby alone in this world – all because I wanted to wear a slutty pirate suit for a few hours, and stay up too late, and re-tell old stories with new made-up details, and drink too much.
Three muskateers (i.e. slutty pirates) at the Halloween Party
But then I stopped myself.
No, I won’t.
I won’t feel guilty for visiting my friends.
I need to visit my friends.
- Friends are Like Insurance Policies, Only Prettier
And smarter and funnier.
You put a little of your energy into them each day, or week, or month, and when you need them – they’ll be there.
I know women who are completely devoted to their husbands, or kids, or job, or pool boy – and all of that is wonderful.
Until your husband has a mid-life crisis and leaves you for an ugly Applebees waitress. Or the pool boy.
When you put all of your eggs in the husband basket, or the boyfriend basket, or the kid basket, or the career basket, you are taking a big risk.
Here’s my advice – don’t cancel your insurance policy.
Because when you find out about the Applebees waitress, or that your mother has cancer, or that your child is being bullied at school, and you don’t know what to do…
You’ll need your friends.
To pick you up and dust you off.
To fill in your sinkholes and rebuild your foundation.
To patch up your roof and give you a shiny new coat of paint.
(For the record, I do not think my husband is going to leave me for an Applebees waitress. He is wonderful, and I am crazy, and I think he would have already left me if he were going to. Also, he loves my friends and encourages my friendships, which leads me to this short public service announcement…)
LADIES: If you are seeing, dating or “giving the goods up” to a guy who doesn’t like your friends and discourages you from spending time with them – look for the nearest exit. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
His jealousy seems endearing now, but trust me, this will end badly.
2. Friendship is a Workout for Your Mind, Body and Soul
Friends bring joy and splendor, and juiciness and laughter into our lives.
Special emphasis on the laughter.
There have been times I’ve woken up with sore cheeks from smiling so much.
And not the kind of sore cheeks I had after a week of sorority-rush-induced-fake-smiling – but the kind that’s associated with severe abdominal pain from belly laughing. And also sometimes a hangover.
I’m positive that I burn at least 20,000 calories per day when I am with my friends. Feel the burn!
Good friendships hurt so good.
3. Your Friends are Good for Your Kids
I think it’s even more important to keep your friendships in tact after you have kids.
Getting on that plane is terrifying. Do it anyway.
There’s something amazing about watching your childhood friends become parents.
Watching them love their kids so hard.
And relating to them in ways that mean more than that time you both liked Chad in high school, or when you both bought matching Backstreet Boys shirts.
I take comfort in knowing there is a pack of warrior mothers out there who care about my son just as much as I do.
He will grow up with these women swarming around him – loving him and protecting him.
And I will do the same for their children.
It’s like sister wives only without the uncomfortable husband sharing part.
To all my wonderful friends and framily,
My friend’s daughter and I making funny faces for days!
thank you for everything you have given me, and continue to give me in this life.
I love you and your kids with all my heart.
And also, I call dibs on Carla’s guest room for next year’s Halloween party.