Last week-end, I did an overnight stay in Milwaukee with three of my best friends. No husbands. No kids. No responsibilities. Can we say HALLELUJAH?!? Time to exhale. Time to relax. Time to take in the details of life for 24 hours, free of obligation or expectation of any kind. Time to simply “be.”
We started our week-end together at the Pfister Hotel, a classic icon of old-world elegance and charm. I found myself noticing the little things: the delicate pussy-willow and tiger lily floral arrangements, the soft and richly-colored, swirled carpeting, the gold shimmery lettering sprinkled uniformly throughout. I was valeted, bell-hopped, and served. My 5 year old would be jealous. I was a queen for a day.
We ended our week-end on Sunday with lunch at Hooligan’s on North, indulging in classic Wisconsin fare like walnut burgers and homemade mac-n-cheese. We sipped Arnold Palmer’s and Diet Cokes in a table set off in a corner. We watched as the revelers from the night before drifted in to find their bar chairs and Bloody Mary’s, and the after-church crowd ordered up sandwiches and light beers. We chatted and giggled as we recounted the antics and fun of the day and evening before. Over the 24 hours prior, we treated ourselves to pedicures, savory appetizers, tasty tapas, and a little late-night gambling. We danced as we dressed. We laughed as we ate. We smiled as we sipped. We flirted with cab drivers, tried to hire a horse and buggy at one point, and bought the table next to us at dinner a “we’re sorry but our gabbing and laughing will get annoying” drink as soon as we sat down.
But the real treat was the time spent with these women. The real treat is the friendship we share.
What’s so special about our friendship?
First off, we’re in it for the long haul. I have been connected to these women in one way, shape, or form for over 20 years. We grew up together in our college years, indulged our 20’s away in tandem, donned maid-of-honor dresses whenever requested, held each other’s babies when they were fresh, and watched one other blossom into the professionals that we are. I know we will be together for the death of our parents, the high school graduation ceremonies of our off-spring, and the birth of our first grandchildren. We’ll shower each other with 50th surprise parties, shop together for half glasses and comfy shoes, and eventually sip snazzed-up lemonade on a beach in Florida each winter. We are the kinds of friends that will always be in each other’s lives.
Second, when I get text messages from one of these women, it’s like my best friend from 4th grade just passed me a note. When we’re together, we feel totally safe letting out that side of us we’re taught to resist as adults. We let our souls unabashedly out. We giggle. We burp if we need to. We belly-laugh over dumb things. We call each other out. We weep, sometimes together. We play. When I am with them, I feel like I’m 12 again…silly, strong, capable, vulnerable, and innocent. Remember Friday nights in 1985? Had I known these chicas then, I know they would’ve loved to eat rainbow sherbet and watch MTV’s Friday Night Video Fights right alongside me. We are, simply put, girls again when we are together: youthful, alive, and ready to take on the world. Ahhhh.
Third, we “get” each other.
Fourth, we are rock-solid. We are each other’s biggest fans, strongest supporters, and loving critics. We are each other’s resting pad after a long run, each other’s shady seat on a too-hot summer day, each other’s shelter from the lightening on the 14,000-foot hike that is life. We are here for each other…good or bad, rain or shine, happiness or grief. Everyone needs friendship rocks like these.
Finally, our friendship is special because these are my sisters. Our love runs deep, our bond stays strong, and our hearts remain true…no matter what…to ourselves, to who we are, and to who we may become. We adore and protect each other at a very deep level. We are family. And like in any family, a reunion is in order. So just wait, Milwaukee! We’ll see you again in 2012…and each year after that.