Since we met Ingrid and Brent and their two amazing little girls more than three years ago, we have cultivated a strong friendship and a bond which words aren’t adequate to describe… but I will sure as heck do my best. An instantly easy connection grew into something more, something usually designated for family, something I would expect from a lifetime of knowing each other. With Ingrid, I am instantly comfortable and all walls come down. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I’ve known, but she also has such great perspective; when I am feeling my emotions overtaking me, she gently offers stable ground on which to walk. She is positive, always. She is kind and quirky and daring. She can do the splits, I learned, while we were goofing around in the kitchen of the cabin!!!?!! There is a lot of excitement surrounding this lady, but we can also just sit and be together. She has helped me through quite a few rough patches in the past year or two, and for that I am eternally grateful.
But a good solid female friendship does not necessarily mean the two families will fall into such easy ways. Luckily, our families just did. Our kids love each other (and put up with each other) equally well. Andrew and Brent have become solid friends, occasionally surprising us by making plans without us! And because of this, we decided that a family vacation would be a success.
I think I was a little nervous about doing this because I have been blindsided before. My memories of what I thought was a wonderful trip were not shared- years afterwards, I found out and felt confused, hurt, and shaken. I joked to Ingrid and Brent to beware- they might not like me after spending several days in a row with me (I know, a bit self-depricating, but true)! I joked, but inside I worried- the hurt part of me still healing and vulnerable. It is a huge test, one that could make a friendship more solid and allow it to grow into something even more beautiful, or leave you feeling annoyed and crowded, or that as people, you are different than you had thought. I guess admitting this brings forth some weakness on my part. But I am human. I am working on it.
But as we met in this beautiful place, I was relieved to find that things were easy, no, even easier, than they were at home. Usually getting our families together required some sort of party or festival, dinner at the other’s home, a trip to the pumpkin patch. Short visits like those always went well, but were faster paced. Here in the serene woods, we let them be free.
Milo and Eliza paired off and were barely seen by the adults (unless we were supervising them near the water, of course) and Oliver and Georgia became thick as thieves. Emil flitted about between the two kid groups and the adults, and sometimes all five emerged together with some elaborate scheme (or spying on the grown-ups, writing secret messages about how “werd” (aka, weird) we were). There were skirmishes and conflicts occasionally, but the older two were able to work them out amazingly well- Milo once came to Eliza after he had been a sore loser in a fierce game of checkers and said, “I’m sorry, Eliza. I really didn’t handle that well.” We adults joked that if only we handled our conflicts so well, we’d be better off.
My heart is so full of love for this lady (and little lady)!
And of course, after the kids went to bed, there was more than our fair share of adult shenanigans. Some alcohol was consumed, some tricks were played, and side-splitting laughter resulted in some very sore abdominal muscles the next day. Oh! And there was a hot tub, though we had to take turns because it was a bit too far away from the house for us to abandon all the sleeping children.
Imagine seeing this masked face looking in the window from OUTSIDE while you are putting your kids to sleep!
I could go on and on about Brent, too. He is soft-spoken, kind, patient with the kids, witty, and easygoing. He is easy to be around- always smiling, thoughtful, and a fantastic cook. In fact, Ingrid and Brent cooked nearly every delicious meal for our families while they were here. We left a bit chubbier, I’m sure. We definitely felt lucky and content!
I found this trip to be a blast, but more than anything, healing. There was a part of me that needed such good friend time- not only good for my soul, but also my bruised ego! I’m going to say it went pretty well… not 10 minutes after they left, Milo was wracked with sobs, saying, “I think by spending all this time in the woods, my friendship with Eliza has just really grown.” Buddy, I couldn’t agree more. Being with these wonderful people only made me want to be with them some more. Ingrid and I signed up for a trapeze class together shortly after we returned… oh boy.