Going away is one thing. But going away without your kids?

Now that’s what I call a vacation.

I have a little secret: I just went away ON A VACATION for a few days.

Oh yes, a girls’ trip, without the kids. Or husband. Or dogs.

A mini-vacation is better than a spoonful of Nutella wrapped in a crepe with five layers of whipped cream. Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. Adore them. My husband too. But I had not been away from them (for longer than a day here and there) for years. Years I tell you. Life is good, but after this “shiningly, Heeerre’s Johnny” snowy winter we had here in Rhode Island, let’s just say it was best for everyone that I got away for a couple days with some of my best friends.

So I planned a getaway in the Oregon coast, (yes, as in 3,000 miles away), with some very dear friends. Although two out of five of us couldn’t make the trip, three of us did. It was practically a miracle! And although it took me 26 hours to get there in a near-John-Candy-and-Steve-Martin-style-planes-refueling-cancelled-flights-with-trains-shuttles-hotels-and-automobiles journey, thankfully I made it in one piece. A little sleep deprived, but I made it to Portland. And we had a blast. Now, given that we are all between the ages of 44 and 50, there was no need to have a raging party. Yes, there was champagne. And seafood. And a breathtaking view of the Oregon coast thanks to a friend of a friend’s family beach house. There was, more importantly, much-needed reuniting, talking, chit-chatting, giggling and some venting, eating, walking, shopping, laughing, and more champagne. Who cares what we did. All I know is it was wonderful. IMG_6197 (2) blog

But more than anything, we experienced the kind of girl-time therapy that you just can’t get when you’re at home working, managing a house and taxiing kids around day in and day out.

All I know is I needed this trip. Really, really, really badly.

And you know that’s all I ask for, especially as Mother’s Day approaches?

Not a sense of justification. Or satisfaction. Or a “Pack your bags, I’m going on a guilt trip”.

Nah.

None of those things matter to me.

All I needed was the simplicity, the joy of reuniting with girlfriends who GET me.

Friends who honestly GET me.

Friends who understand what I’m trying to say, even if I don’t “land the plane” and get to a point right away.

The best is when you alternate not-landing-the-plane together, and go off on oh-m-g-random-girl-time-tangents and then end up laughing so hard you can hardly breathe because you totally understand where the plane is even though you landed it in a completely different place than you originally intended. (Don’t worry if you didn’t get this, it’s all good.)

The kind of friends who know YOU. And like you anyway. 😉

They laugh endlessly WITH you.

They like you, in a most Bridget Jones-kind-of-I-get-you-way, just the way you are.

And that is something that gives me such a sense of happiness.

Of rejuvenation.

And joy.

Life is so good.

When you have friends who make you laugh.

Until you almost pee.

That’s when you know you’re going to be OK.

Friends you know you can call a month from now, and can catch up in 30 seconds and pick up where you left off.

I feel blessed to have a lot of friends like this across the country. Some right here in little old Rhody and New England. You know who you are. But there is something so special about making a plan to get away with dear friends you don’t see every day. (Like when I got to see my friend in Arizona in February. It was so fabulous!)

Friends you know you’ll have until you’re old and crinkly.

Lifelong friends are worth re-connecting with, even if you only get to see them once in a while.

All I can say is if I seemed a little cranky over the winter, this trip helped. A LOT.

It helped remind me that life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

After a non-eventful planes, trains and automobiles return trip home, my husband says to me, “I don’t know how you do it.”

“What do you mean?”

“The dishes,” he says. “The dogs. The kids. Everything.”

I didn’t know what to say, except, “Thank you.”

This man is my life partner of nearly 20 years. He helps out. Although I do tend to be the one who Mr. Cleans the toilets, vacuums the floors and scrubs dishes every day, the fact that he was 100% supportive of me getting away meant the world to me. He took over, and aside from our puppy devouring dinner one night while he went to fetch the laundry, he did a tremendous job playing Mr. Mom. He rocks!

When you’re a mom, you do a lot. And sometimes you take on too much. Sometimes, you tend to do so much, you end up creating an unnecessary hamster wheel of things, making life even crazier. I was guilty of this….and knew it was time to unwind…and not feel guilty about it.

Because I know I’m a better mom and a better wife for it.

Do me a favor. Call a friend you haven’t seen in years. Not a text. Or a Facebook message. Pick up the phone. Maybe see if you can plan a trip. Even if it’s a year from now. Or two. Or five. I promise you won’t be sorry. Now have yourself a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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