Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Weekend Away

Well, I guess it's summer. While most of the country is sizzling away in a frying pan of sunshine, we have still been donning our hoodies and watching in awe as our kids jump fearlessly into frigid swimming pools and brave icy sprinklers at the water park. Sigh. At least the fire rings are good for warmth and marshmallows.

I guess I haven't been posting much because I guess we haven't been doing much. Which is not really true, because we have been busy. We've just been busy relaxing. The nausea and fatigue of this pregnancy has forced me to slow down a bit this summer and I am finding that that is not necessarily a bad thing. We've been spending our days at the park or the pool or with friends. My house is usually a mess and I'm way behind in my annual summer food preservation. I haven't sewn anything since Christmas. And, as it turns out, that's just fine.

A bunch of girls and I snuck away from our families and careers and internships to spend a long weekend celebrating my friend Emily who is getting married this summer.

Much food was consumed.

And some wine. Yep, I even had a glass. Relax, I was literally surrounded by doctors.

And some rainy walks on the beach. This is summertime in Oregon after all.

And more food. One of the reasons Emily and I became friends long ago on another continent was our mutual love of food. Some things never change.

The sun did eventually come out.

And set.

And it was cold enough in the evenings to serve brownies and wine by the fireside. Cozy.

I have to confess that I always feel at least a twinge of guilt whenever I leave the kids behind to go and do something just-for-me fun. The first night away is always the worst- I feel kind of like you felt the first time you slept away at summer camp. I guess it's like homesickness for my kids. But after a day or two of sleeping in and reading on the couch and chatting with friends, I feel right at home. It's good to get away.

Sometimes when I am meeting new people, as I was on this trip, I find that I don't seem to have much more to talk about than my kids. Sure, I have a career and some interests, but so much of my life revolves around parenthood that it's easy to lose focus of all that other stuff. Which is why, I suppose, having friends who span many periods of one's life is so important. Being with Emily reminds me of a completely different life that I once lived- one that involved European travel and leisure, French ski chalets, half marathons, wine tours, chocolate and pastry consumption, and so much independence. I now marvel at the fact that I once lived exclusively for me. Long ago I stayed out late and slept until noon. I ate when I was hungry. I took a nap if I got tired. I went somewhere or did something for no reason other than I felt like it.

I like to think that I fully appreciated my year abroad, that I recognized its significance in the great scheme of my life. I seized the opportunities to travel as they came my way, I tried every new food that was offered to me (even the weird meat bread stuff that old French people eat), I somehow managed to earn all of the credits I was supposed to (though how I passed 17th Century French Opera is still a mystery...), I "grew as a person" and "learned about myself" and gained a new, more globalized perspective and all that mumbo jumbo that you are expected to do when you study abroad. But there were also times when I felt very alone and wondered just where my life could possibly be going... And I think this is also something Emily and I shared during that period of time.

So now, years and years later, as I sip wine and nibble a brownie and listen as she tells her closest friends about her wedding dress, I think of my boys who must surely be sleeping at this late hour, this tiny girl who grows inside me, and I smile to think of the small hands Emily will someday hold.

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