Girls’ Weekend–Part One: Reprieved

Lately I’ve been trying to find an equalibrium. I found it where I least expected it. I had months to think about my college roomate reunion in Chicago…but I was too busy. I let my roomates plan it all. Afterall, I can always visit my sister in Chicago and see whatever I want, even though I haven’t done so lately. I was focused only on the face-to-face time, the talks and bonding.

Instead, I worried. I would be driving to Chicago with one of my roomates. I thought it likely that I would have to take my car…a small stickshift. I worried that no one else could drive a manual transmission car. I felt so stressed about so many things in my life and this was just one more. In the end, I realized just how ridiculous I am.

I finished a three-day, personnel development meeting at work on Friday afternoon and drove to my friend’s house. She had been delayed by traffic, so I killed time talking with her 20 year old son. He and I covered many topics. I have a 20 year old son of my own, but that wasn’t the basis of our conversation. He and I hadn’t met in about ten years. I was impressed that he could hold up a conversation with someone his mom’s age for 20 minutes. I truly enjoyed our talk.

In the course of our conversation I asked if his mom could drive a stick shift. At first he was not confident…but ultimately told me that his mom knew how but he wasn’t certain of her actual capabilities. Fortunately, she arrived forthwith. I asked her right away if she could drive a stick and she stood straight at attention and declared “Yes! I can!”. So interesting how our children view our capabilities! That moment was the beginning of my reprieve.

We got on the road, me driving. We talked and talked and talked. During our conversation, I  started to relax. Isn’t it amazing to have a friend who you feel 100% comfortable with even if you haven’t spoken in years?

As we got closer to Chicago, my friend reminded me that she could drive a stick-shift, so we switched seats. Although her son was not there to witness it, she drove a manual transmission car like a pro…and she drove through Chicago streets, which really deserves even grander kudos.

About an hour out of the city, we got texts from our other roommates. They’d all flown in earlier and were hungry for dinner. We eventually decided to find our B&B and park before joining them. We parked and walked over to the restaurant. Spotting one another immediately, we shone with joy, all of us. We hugged and smiled and sat down and started talking. We had much to talk about, too much for just one dinner. Children from  5 to 21, parents from early seventies to eighty nine…We had more to talk about than we could contain. We were oh, so happy to have another two days to connect.

Back at the B&B, which was the upper floor of a lovely town home, we tried not to disturb the other guests with our boisterous laughter and chatter, but ultimately we headed off to bed. After sleeping in, we went out for brunch to Ann Sather’s . I was a bit nervous, as it had been my suggestion and I hadn’t been to one of the restaurants in close to twenty years. I do believe that the cinnamon rolls were a highlight of the trip for most of us.

imageNext we got Ventra cards and took to the El. We headed straight for the Art Institute and jumped around to hit favorite pieces and exhibits. Mine is Paris Street; Rainy Day, by Gustave Caillebotte. I first saw it years ago when I attended an Impressionist exhibit there many years ago. I recall walking into a well-lit stairwell not expecting to see any art and being confronted by this very large work…I was mesmerized.

Leaving the museum, we wandered to the waterfront and back to Millenium Park. After many “artful” photos at “the bean” we planned our evening. Not one moment of that time did I stop to think about my messy house, my dog (safely kenneled at the vet), my daughter (having her own special weekend with a friend), my work, or any other thing that had me feeling disjointed lately. No, I was reprieved!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in lifetime friendships!

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