Friday, November 09, 2012

I Got All My Sisters With Me: Girls' Weekend Fall 2012

"I have a family — two, really. Well, three if you think about it. There are my siblings, and there are my children, but I also have an extended family. The people who stayed. The people who became more than friends; the people who open the door when I knock. That's what it all boils down to. The people who have to open the door, not because they always want to but because they do." ~Diane Keaton, Then Again

I met Jen, Wendi and Jodi in college almost 20 years ago, at a teeny-tiny campus set inside cinder-block buildings in the big cement sprawl that is Orange County, California. I am still paying over $30,000 in student loan debt for these dear friends, and it is worth every bit.

We get together at least once a year for our girls' weekend. They each have at least two children, a couple of whom are still babies or toddlers. I had a cat that I had to give to my mom because I couldn't handle the commitment. They have amazing husbands who love that they take the weekend away from the kids, knowing it recharges their souls that are sometimes raggedy-beat-down from being a mommy. I've collected stories of dating lore that will make you run for the nunnery. They're still very active in church, each walking her own journey of faith and love and generosity. I read Anne Lamott and wish I had more of her faith and less of my anger. But I'm getting there, a there that is my own path as well, a mix of traditions and what I've learned along the way.

Because of all this, not despite it, our friendships are deeper than ever. Even if we cringe on the inside at something someone says or has done, we love each other where we are, who we are. This is family for me, being that free.

We rent a house or "borrow" one when I'm house-sitting. We talk til two in the morning over a hunk of Humboldt Fog goat cheese and one bottle of wine ... for me, one shared between the moms. We make a pact not to discuss anything important until all four of us are together. We talk about projects and passions and how we can help each other forward. We have been known to cry, usually in domino fashion. We go where the spirit of the weekend leads us, and where people won't judge that we haven't showered and want breakfast at 1pm. We go thrifting, we walk to coffee, we go to the movies.

We normally take more photos, but maybe this year we didn't need to. Maybe it's that we didn't get out of our PJs too often, or do our makeup. Maybe we don't need to document the time, though the years have started to blur, and it's good to see proof of when we were, where we were. Maybe we're more comfortable in knowing that we will see each other again, although the death of a friend's dad last week sparked conversation of how precious and brief life is, and how important our time is together.

So, we take photos of coffee that was meticulously made by baristas in lab coats, and fun finds that tell the world of our soda obsessions. And then we hug, get in cars and on planes and promise to email more, to call more, to connect more. Knowing that life with kids and husbands and jobs and boyfriends gets busy. Knowing that even if our only e-mails are simply to set our next weekend in motion, we'll be able to start in just where we all are.

Thankful for friends who are family, who will open that door, not because they always want to but because they do.

Jodi's latte of joy at Portola Coffee Lab

Jen's find at Heirlooms & Hardware
Last year's weekend brunch at the beloved King's Road in West Hollywood, with the beloved server, John. 2011

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