Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend some high quality bonding time with the best bestie in the whole world, Lynn. Our friendship has lasted over 20 years, surviving geographic separations, differing life paths, and personal change. It has truly stood the test of time and remains one of the deepest friendships I believe I will ever have.
Lynn is an incredible human and embodies everything that I aspire to be. She’s generous, an amazing listener and a caring friend. She remembers small details like birthdays, is wildly talented at pretty much everything mom-related and always sends the most thoughtful gifts. It’s obvious that she truly cares about people. She put herself through school to become a speech pathologist and now works with children who have disabilities. I’ve always felt that this is a beautifully serendipitous intersect of our lives. And in addition to all of that, her energy is still and grounded and when I am around her, life just feels so much more relaxed.
The times when I have really felt like myself have been few and far between over the last few years. All the stress and responsibility resting upon my shoulders often prevents me from just letting loose and embodying the free-spirited fun-loving me I used to know. But during these once a year visits, I always seem to reconnect with that person I am at my core. Lynn’s warm heart, caring personality and easy laughter melt away the stresses on my world and remind me what it feels like to actually relax. Every time we get together she steals me away for an outing- each one more outrageous than the last.
During our first visit after Oliver was born, she took me to the farm we grew up on and arranged for us to ride through the field on horseback just as we did almost every day of our teenage years. Running along the path that day I reconnected with the freedom and goodness of life and realized that no matter how deeply entrenched I may feel there will be moments like these that breath life back into a weary soul.
The second year, she came to visit me in California and we hiked to the Hollywood sign –one of my bucket list items.
Then we spent the evening hours exploring old town, eventually stumbling upon a speakeasy that needed a password to get in. The door guy took pity on our old uncool selves and gave us a hint to the password; a child’s favorite sandwich …
I excitedly blurted out, ‘Mac and Cheese!’ Both he and Lynn looked at me like there might be something very wrong with my brain (which was an accurate assumption considering the 3 years of sleep deprivation) Lynn said… “Uh… did you mean peanut butter and jelly?
This year I was reminded of the value of belly laughter- especially shared between old friends.
The third year she arranged for an entire day away and took me to a spa and then a state park where I hiked as a child. Before we left for our hike, she gifted me with a self-stick (one of THE most ridiculously narcissistic items ever made) and delighted in watching the utter embarrassment on my face as she told me we’d be taking as many selfies as possible that day on these very populated trails.
We walked the paths laughing hysterically with each new selfie while we exchanged stories of the trials and tribulations of the aging process. We found a cave to climb up into and sneakily sipped the spiked hot chocolate she had packed. The minty chocolate warmed our bodies and souls as we reminisced, tucked away in our cave, watching the world go by.
That year I was reminded of the importance of self-care, reconnecting with nature and taking a little time to refill my cup.
But this year’s visit to California brought the most adventurous of all of Lynn’s ideas so far. Zip lining. She arranged an entire day of childcare and so we stole ourselves away for a morning stroll through Temecula’s Farmer’s market and a brunch complete with mimosas. The day continued with an exciting Target run for fanny packs… the convenience of which I just can’t pass up at this stage in life, no matter how hideous they might be and also considered purchasing some adult diapers just in case we peed our pants while flying through the tree tops. LOL
Then we headed out to La Jolla zip lines for, quite possibly, the coolest mom’s day outing ever.
To say I was nervous to jump off that platform into the unknown would be a vast understatement. As our guide clipped us in to the harnesses for our first line my heart was pounding in my chest and I could focus only on my breath to try to avoid an impending panic attack. Lynn thoroughly enjoyed witnessing every second of this process for me and laughed gleefully at the absolute terror on my face.
But in the end I did it. I faced my fear and jumped off of a perfectly good platform into the abyss and was rewarded with the gift of flight… soaring over the hills and valleys, screaming the entire way down. By the last line of the day I was even able to look around and enjoy the scenery from this birds eye view. It was an awesome experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
On the way back out of the canyon, we rolled down the windows and blasted Dixie Chicks, a staple of our teenage musical repertoire. Wide Open Spaces, which is basically the theme song to my life, came on and as the wind whipped through my hair, I sang out loud like no one was listening (something you can only do with a best friend) An ear to ear smile came across my face and as my eyes glimmered with light, I became aware of this noticeable departure from the stress and anxieties that so often restrict my joy. I NEEDED this day.
We finished our trip with the gift of an awe-inspiring sunset that I’m pretty sure was painted just for us. We shared more belly laughs as I drove in zigzags through the subdivisions trying to get to the highest point so we could take the best pictures of the magnificent wonder before us. We finally parked outside someone’s house and scampered up onto the top of my little car. We were cracking up and I’m quite certain that every single person that drove by us definitely thought we had imbibed in some magical substance.
We finally made it home about 9 o’clock that night and as I pulled into the driveway I reminded myself to drop into this feeling of real self-care. Real time to breathe. A real day to set down the responsibilities and the stresses of life and reconnect with the part of me that seems so hard to find some days.
This year I was reminded of my fearlessness… the wild abandon that has always been my guiding force in life. At times it’s caused recklessness decisions and consequences but has also provided a thirst for life that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And it just so happens that, on this current life path, fearlessness is EXACTLY the thing I need.
Thank you Lynn for another amazing year and much needed reminder of all the beauty life has to offer. Things are always better with you by my side. ❤