My "better self" shows up after a simple morning of cleaning my home without tripping over any little people who are lovingly tripling my work time. My rejuvenation comes from a couple hours at Starbucks sipping some overly sweetened coffee while chipping away at the family budget. I'm just not very high-needs in this department, which works well because my own little family also tends to work best when we're together as a team. That said, you can understand why neither one of us tends to escape all that often.
HOWEVER. This Saturday I took a teeny-weeny-beanie (vocab courtesy of Christopher) escape to Sacramento where I had the opportunity to finally meet some of the loveliest people with whom I've ever come in contact. I didn't know very many of them going in. Scratch that. I didn't KNOW any of them. There was a small handful of participants who I knew quite a bit about, however...
There was Emily: she who was the very first person aside from Tim to know that I was expecting baby #3 at a time when I was still trying to distinguish between my anxiety and my joy over the new addition to our family.
There was Maggie: she who, if she didn't live SO. FAR. AWAY. we'd be sitting next to at Mass on Sundays and not worrying if our kids were too squirmy or too loud and would totally understand exactly why it is that I couldn't tell you a word from that day's homily.
There was Liz: the one who, out of the blue, assured me of the ongoing prayers of her family for mine while I was in the midst of my own sort of mommy crisis and feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. And all along, there was her family praying for me in a way that allowed me to keep those shoulders strong...without my even knowing it.
And there was Manda: that girl who made the funniest joke without even realizing it during a twitter-chat one night and, in so doing, managed to turn my WEEK around from exhausting and stressful to manageable. And even joyful.
Of course, there were all of these other super amazing women with whom I spent the afternoon sipping water from a sippy cup, chatting, laughing, and becoming FRIENDS with. As Holly said in her 13 Things post, "Do you know what's scary? Making friends as an adult." And yet, simple it was. Granted, my blood pressure went up about 50 points as I parked my car outside of Elizabeth's house. But that was fleeting. The day, itself, was delightful. EASY. And so wonderful that I wish I could spend every Saturday doing just that: having lunch and building friendships with these people who I had never met before.
Nearly all of the girls I met on Saturday have posted their own thoughts on the weekend, and have done so far more eloquently than I; however, it must be said...my teeny-weenie-beanie escape on Saturday changed me. I came home that night and started to tell Tim what we did, who I met, how it ended far too quickly. Do you know what happened as I started to explain all of these things to him? I started crying. We're not talking "misting" or "tearing up" here. When I say crying I really mean it. I mean, on the verge of Ugly Cry crying. Have To Take A Break From Talking Because You're Getting Too High Pitched crying.
Because it was such a lovely day. Because I finally was able to sit face to face with these friends who I have "known" for so long and can now put voices, expressions, and mannerisms to their stories. Because of how surreal it was to sit across from Emily while she talked to Asher on the phone. Because of how exciting it was to see Maggie running out of Elizabeth's house, arms outstretched for a big hug. Because Amy and I would totally be BFF's if we taught in the same school. Because Elizabeth's house is so charming and perfect and sweet and well-painted. Because Jennie and Kristie and Melissa are so open minded and so fun to just sit and talk to. Because I could talk to Amber about a museum exhibit and she, being local, could actually go check it out. Because I could sit next to someone like Whitney, find her completely delightful and and a joy to behold. Because Holly, who I got to see the least I think, works at my husband's old company. Small world. And because I actually got to see A'Dell's red hat in person.
Because now I can stop referring to "this mom on this blog that I read...." and just start stories with "My friend..."
What a tremendous blessing.