Just this past weekend, we celebrated our eighth girls’ trip. In lean years (or busy years or years in which no one has the time or energy to organize something), we end up close by in places like New York City or the shore. Other years, the trips are more exotic. But always there is food. And alcohol. And, if we can manage it, sun. The trips have not been without drama. There was the year one friend got food poisoning and we stayed up with her through the night, afraid we’d have to seek medical care in our back-woods location. Or the year we all got into an argument, the root of which I couldn’t tell you. But it doesn’t matter. We keep going.
I use the phrase “girls’ trip” intentionally. The real beauty in these trips is not the opportunity to go somewhere our husbands would hate (though that’s definitely an advantage) – it’s that we have known each other forever. When together, we are girls again. No matter that we have 10 kids between us. No matter that string bikinis have given way to skirted tankinis or that a hangover lasts for two days or that we all look up when a stranger’s kid says, “Mommy.” On these trips, we still pick out clothes together, discuss boys (okay, husbands), do each other’s hair and carry each other home when someone has had one (or five) too many Cosmopolitans.
A year ago, I lost my dad. He and my mom had been married for almost 45 years. They had been inseparable. Despite her close relationship with my dad, my mom never lost touch with her high school friends. They supported her through my dad’s illness and continue to be her emotional and social support today. Now, almost 50 years later, my mom and her friends still get their girl on.
Our girls’ trips don’t replace my family vacations (that’s a blog for another day). I love my husband - and for once I’m glad he didn’t listen to me all those years ago. Since then, my high school friends and I have mourned the loss of parents and grandparents, had more children, lost or started jobs, seen two presidents elected and witnessed countless national and international tragedies. But I can only hope that, like my mom and her friends, we are still getting our girl on after 50 years of friendship.