My friend came to town for a visit. She lives in Switzerland but comes back to spend time with her family. Fortunately for us, she also carves out time to see her friends. If she didn’t, my group of friends, who only live at the most 5-6 miles apart from each other, would never meet up. Last week, I looked around the room where my friends were gathered and I felt so grateful that we were there for a happy occasion (as opposed to a sad occasion). Weddings and funerals are when most people drop everything to come together. In our case, we didn’t have to get dressed up and make all sorts of wedding arrangements - we were sitting in the room because our friend was visiting from Switzerland.
We reminisced. Even before we sent out the Doodle link for this friendly gathering, we received a wonderfully written email that reminded us of the connection to each other. I refer to these women as my “first time mothers yoga group”. Years ago, shortly after our neighborhood prenatal yoga studio opened, a friend formed a play group for our little ones. Even though the play group was very flexible, we were faithful in meeting up every Thursday. Chaotic play with adult convos that started but rarely finished. We knew if you showed up to the play group it was an accomplishment in itself.
We joked. It always takes our international friend’s visit to get us local folks together! Now that’s an indication that our friend means a lot to us. It had been 1.5 years since our group of friends gathered and that’s because it was the last time she came to visit. We also joked that we could have picked a new, trendy place for her to try but instead we chose the local-tried-and-true-low-key-usual venue. We are all about ease and comfort!
We caught up. A lot has happened since we last gathered but most of us are on Facebook so it wasn’t hard to get up to speed. However, it was such a treat to actually have conversations about our life events in person. We collectively figured out that FB brings on it’s own set of challenges and perhaps we should have another gathering dedicated to discussing it.
We vented. The main topics: Motherhood and Politics. Yes, politics - a subject that was taboo in the past was openly discussed. It was a safe place to vent and it was so good to have the personal conversations. The way we vote or not vote - that’s pretty personal. We recognized our differences and we were still able to have a conversation about politics!! Imagine that. In case you haven’t already figured it out, this was a mellow GNO. We wouldn’t be having these convos on our way to watch the movie Bad Moms or during a night out on the town.
We shared. All those mothers who came before us may have gathered for card games, knitting or book clubs but I doubt they ever aired their dirty laundry. Instead, they kept that stuff to themselves and I may venture to say that they probably told their closest friends that their family was peachy keen when they weren't. These days, I’m grateful that women can be there for each other in good times and bad. Of course the setting for our gathering was perfect for this type of camaraderie - a dark, quiet room where some of us ate and some chose to drink wine while others drank herbal teas or sparkling water. It was in this setting that we felt comfortable to discuss our own mothers - the challenges of boundaries and illnesses.
We said goodbye. We knew it might be another year before we could do this again so it’s always a bummer to leave after a night together. In some ways, I end up missing my friends more now that I’m caught up on their lives. In other ways, I am just so grateful that in 3 hours we had filled our "cups". We connected, hugged and talked about as much as we could in those hours. I walked home feeling empowered, educated, celebrated and heard. It may not be your typical gathering or your idea of a fun GNO but I wouldn't trade it for all the gold at the Rio Olympics.