The Parade

Once a year I am given a gift. It’s not wrapped up in in a box with a big red bow but it’s a gift just the same. When I was 23 years old I was offered the chance to go up north and be a part of my mom’s annual girls weekend trip with her cousins, aunts and my grandmother. I had heard several stories about how much fun they had in previous years so I was excited to join in the fun. Little did I know that girls weekend, at the time, mainly consisted of visiting local shops and stores around a small northern Michigan town. On this particular weekend the main event was a 2 hour trip to the hardware store. While sitting in a lawn chair in the seasonal display section of the store I realized how special this opportunity was. I may have been bored out of my mind but I felt this connection with women that I had usually just seen a few times each year. As planning started for the following year I decided that as the newbie to the group I needed to bring some craziness to the weekend, this included t-shirts, a theme (provided by my father), some games and plain old silliness. Since then we have continued having these annual weekends and it seems that each year we have more fun than the previous.

11667396_10102393940740664_3409131914683625288_nWhile I can most definitely appreciate the ridiculousness that occurs during our girls weekend adventures it’s not the crazy that makes these trips so important to me. It’s been described as kindred spirits. A connection on a level deeper than just our blood (or marriage) bond. A group of women that care about each other, motivate each other, build each other up and have a connection that is celebrated once a year in our trip up north. I’ve felt this way for several years, but it seems that yesterday as I was driving home through the parade of crabby souls heading south on I-75, I really thought about how much I value the relationships that I have with these women. For the first time in several years, we spent our weekend mainly at the cottage enjoying the weather, relaxing and spending time with each other. There was no schedule, no agenda other than just doing whatever the hell we wanted. That relaxed atmosphere allowed us to have conversations that I will always hold close to my heart, I learned things about people that I have known my entire life and was able to open up to them allowing myself the opportunity to have someone provide emotional support for me at the same time. It’s the connection that I have with these women that is like a gift to me. We don’t see each other enough, we live very different lives, but once a year we come together and just enjoy our time with each other while we have it. I consider myself a relatively decent writer and still, I find myself without words to accurately describe how a crazy weekend up north translates to emotional support. So you’ll just have to trust me.

Back to my drive home yesterday afternoon. I couldn’t help but think as I tried to navigate around the pockets of drivers heading south on I-75 that even though each of these people were lucky enough to spend a gorgeous summer weekend in northern Michigan that they were also missing out because they may have had just that. A gorgeous weekend. I had a gorgeous weekend that renewed my confidence in myself and gave me the opportunity to strengthen my relationships with some of the most important people in my life. I sincerely hope the rest of those crabby souls parading south on I-75 were feeling the same way.

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