Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Artichoke Festival

Enough of the serious stuff. Let's talk about something fun: The Artichoke Festival. Or more accurately, a weekend with the girls.

I am fortunate enough to be married to a very trusting, understanding and supportive husband. I hope that he considers me as trusting, understanding and supportive as well. He did not hesitate when I told him I wanted to spend the weekend with the girls in Castroville at the Artichoke Festival.

Having 2 boys for about a year now, I am settling into the understanding that kids do not give you a break. They do not care if you are tired, or sick, or busy, or on one phone with Verizon while you desperately try to fix your other phone.

My husband and I took the kids to San Diego for a week. We fortunately had a suite that allowed us to be separated from them during nap and bedtime, but spent every other waking hour with them, sometimes in close quarters, or running ourselves ragged an the zoo, safari park, Balboa Park, Sea World, etc. Six hours in the car meant six hours of, "Mommy! A bus! Daddy! A bus! Mommy, where did the bus go? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

When we got home, it was back to the daily grind. More talk about "a bus" and trying to tire the kids out so they would nap and sleep at night, while simultaneously tiring ourselves out. There's a reason people started getting married and having kids at 18 back in the day. 43 and 32 are having a hard time keeping up with the little ones.

Back to girl time. First of all, what a relief. I live with boys. My husband is a boy, I have two sons, and a male dog. I occasionally spend time with women. I see my mother in law and my mom about once a week. I see women sometimes when I'm out and about. I relish my time shopping at Michael's, where women are the majority, but in general I spend time listening to Henry talk about poop, seeing Sam throwing things-anything-in the house, and watching my husband do guy stuff. I have five close friends who all live or have ties within 50 minutes of where I live. I will thank all of their understanding significant others as well for letting us have some time alone. And I have to hand it to the girls, there was a little guy talk, and some texting, but we mostly had each other's undivided attention.

Don't get me wrong-the artichoke festival was fun. We ate a lot, laughed a lot, bought artichoke souvenirs and made up a song about it, but it's really about the girl time. We played Apples to Apples late at night until the cards ran out, ate pizza, went swimming/hot tubbing, bought nail polish and hair dye, and talked about girl stuff. We shared beds, and secrets, and had real quality time.

The girls remembered my birthday. I opened gifts-which I wasn't expecting and they surprised me by not only getting me a pie, but knowing my favorite kind. I did speak with Hank, and also the kids, very briefly, but most of the weekend was spent reconnecting with girls I love.

I love my husband. I love my boys. I even love the dog. Having Sam throw his arms around me and Henry spontaneously say, "I love you" is maybe the best thing in the world. But there is nothing like girlfriends. Magazines for women are always talking about frenemies, and what to do when your friend backstabs you, or how to handle their envy. These girls are not envious, secretly hoping I fail, or gossiping behind my back. They listen, are generous, have my best interests at heart, want to spend time with me, love my family, respect my decisions, and help me understand my needs and self better than I know myself. I can just be me, and it's so easy with them.

Any other kind of friend is just not worth having.