Dabbling in girls’ trips…

This one is so close to my heart. Mamas….I know it’s hard…but GO ON THE TRIP! Whatever it takes to get your butt out the door for a chance to hang out with your ladies…do it. I am a firm believer in keeping up with your friendships…they are one of the greatest blessings in life. I know it’s hard to leave your kids. I know you feel like no one can take care of them like you do…but guess what?! Those little angels are soon going to turn into teenagers that couldn’t care less about you (I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true). So do yourself a favor…nourish yourself and those friendships now. Your kids will grow up and leave your house and move on with their own lives (that is the point after all) but it is your girlfriends who will still be there…and your husband, if your marriage survives raising teenagers. Kidding…mostly:)

I’ll give you a little background…

I graduated from college and moved to a big city about 4 hours away from where I grew up. I had a boyfriend who I lived with and eventually became engaged to. I had lots of friends, but my romantic relationship was my priority at that time. We were together for 5 1/2 years…some of the busiest years of my life, but we were happy. Until it all fell apart. I will save you the whole long story. We became disengaged and he moved away to another state. It was incredibly heartbreaking…I have never felt despair like that. It was the kind of sadness that made it nearly impossible to get out of bed until 2 pm. I lost 20 pounds. My body was in fight or flight mode…I forgot to eat. If any of you know me you realize how terrifying that is…I LOVE food. There is one thing that got me through it…my friendships. And one friendship in particular.

This friend just happened to have broken up with her long term boyfriend at about the same time (what are the chances? Seriously). We were both super depressed, but we kept each other going. We were friends from grad school and the breakups happened to be during the gap we had right after grad school ended and when we took out boards to be certified for the next step in our career. We both had great jobs lined up…we just needed to pass that damn test. It was incredibly hard and also a God-send that it was during this time because our schedule was flexible. The fact that we went through this heartbreak together helped us survive it and also cemented our friendship forever. When I was having a hard day, she’d call me and tell me to get my ass out of bed and meet her at the coffee shop to study. And vice versa. They may have broken our hearts, but we were not going to let them ruin our lives. We needed to pass our boards to work. We built each other up. We’d study all day and drink wine all night (which led to dancing, snow angels, shenanigans:). That was our life for a few weeks. It was hell at the time, but now I have good memories of it! My friend and I got through it…we passed our boards…we did it together.

It was during that mess that I realized how important friendships are. I made friends with another group of girls after my cousin moved to town. We meshed quickly and soon did everything together. We went out, we watched movies together, we ate at restaurants, we traveled. I was working 12 hour shifts at the hospital, but I spent time with friends at least 3 days a week. I lived by myself, I’ve always liked my alone time, but we spent A LOT of time together. Guys would come and go, but we always had each other. I pray that you have friendships like this is your life. They were my saving grace.

After years, I met my now husband and we dated long distance. But as these things go…someone has to eventually move as the relationship progresses. My husband could not move because of his job. My job in healthcare was much more flexible. That was that. I would have to move to continue the relationship. I knew I wanted to marry him, so I did it. It was with a very heavy heart that I moved away from my solid friend groups. Thankfully, I did well enough at my job that I could afford plane tickets when I wanted to visit. It was easy to visit at first, but soon became more difficult. My husband was previously married and had 3 children from that marriage. I honestly didn’t realize all that our life would entail when we got married. I naively thought I could still go visit my friends as much as I wanted.

Well we got married…moved again (to the Southwest)…and settled into real life as husband and wife…with 3 kids half of the time. Well…as the saying goes, “Reality hits you hard bro”. I soon realized what real life would be with 3 kids. I could no longer just pick up and leave whenever. I had responsibilities and a home I created that I needed to be present for. I missed my friendships tremendously. It was hard not to see them regularly; but also part of growing up, part of being an adult. It was a progression. My friends all started getting married and having kids, and soon everyone was as busy as I was. There was no time to go out or have dinners every week. People relocated across the country. Honestly, it was even hard to find time to talk on the phone. It doesn’t help that I am a terrible phone person. If I have time to myself, I just want to enjoy the quiet.

This is why I am such an advocate for girls’ trips. I have 2 main girl groups from home that I travel with. Each year each group does a trip. That makes one trip in the fall for me and one in the spring. These trips are sometimes the only time I see some of the girls throughout the year. But honestly it is like we were never apart. We can pick up right where we left off and we have such a blast together! We let off some steam, dance our butts off and laugh until our faces hurt. I come home more tired than when I left, but it is 100% worth it. Whatever it takes. Do you need to make all the meals ahead of time for your family? Do it. Do you need to send in reinforcements to help your husband while you’re gone? Do it. There were a few girls trips where I was literally gone not much more than 24 hours…but I did it anyway. I made it a priority…as I do every year. Because I know by now that things change in life. A partner may change their mind and leave tomorrow. Kids grow and don’t need you as much anymore. They may move far away. You know who stays? Do you know who are the constants? Your friends…

Nourish those relationships. They will sustain you during those times when you can’t physically get out of bed. The times where you don’t know how you will go on. These friendships are so precious. My hope for you is that you have at least one person; hopefully a few, that you can turn to and do life with. It is a beautiful thing. One of the most beautiful things actually.

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

Elizabeth Foley

Sincerely written on this day,

The Dabbler

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