May 16, 2016


I love girlfriends.  

I love girlfriends that know your weaknesses and quirks, and love you just the same.  

I love girlfriends that can make you bust a gut laughing about the negative in life - which then turns those negatives into positives because those negative events now evoke so much humor, thanks to your girlfirends.  

I love girlfriends that are positive people, loyal and kind.  

I love my girlfriends, because they are just that type of people.

Not only do I love my girlfriends, but I love my girlfriend time even more.

Alan and I have to divide and conquer a lot.  We have to divide to get things done, including to fill our individual cups as they get depleted in this Special life.  We would love to do it together - to go off on some fantastic date every week, we would love to escape for a weekend here and there, but that is nearly impossible.  In the slim chance that it becomes possible, it is still classified as nearly impossible because the effort that it takes to execute such plans and meet the caretaking demands of Bridger, often negates the benefit.  We learned early on that self maintenance of sanity requires us to split.  I will take care of Bridger and the other kids while he seeks out some time away for a carefree moment, and visa versa.

In my sanity seeking moments, I have loved opportunities to get away with my girlfriends, and to take off my mom hats, including my tightly fitting Special hat, and just be a girlfriend.

I love my time with them because they let me talk Special all that I need to, and their ears don't wilt off.  I love my time with them because they help me forget that I am Special, and help me find that piece of me that I lost nine years ago.  They help me laugh and laugh until I am transported back to a carefree state of mind.

So when the past few months have been particularly challenging with Bridger, or we have had 30 days of consecutive rain. . . or in the current case -- BOTH, I have treasured my girlfriend time.

I had two of my favorite girlfriends from college fly into town and we played "tourist" in DC.  Being from DC, pathetically, I have not been a tourist of the city nearly as often as I should.

We began our weekend together at a hockey game, ended it with a Segway tour of the all the signature DC sights, and had some great restaurants, a bunch of museums, food trucks and a couple lusciously decadent long nights of sleep at a beautifully historic hotel in DC in between. The tides of time are something that make our friendship run so deep.  We began with the most carefree life, living in the mountains together during our college summer, and since then has included life events that none of us could imagine were part of our future, including one dear friend burying a her beautiful child. We laughed together, shed a few tears together, then laughed some more.

The next weekend I went up with some of my favorite girlfriends to my cabin.  There is nothing to report of this.  There are no pictures.  Because what happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin.  I will just say that it was so good that it ended with all of us still in our pajamas eating breakfast inside the local gas station making sound effects as we ate because it was so delicious.

Lastly, I enjoyed a good ol' fashioned girlfriend adventure a few weeks ago.   We went up to Pennsylvania to visit Longwood Gardens.  Thousands of acres of the most exquisite gardens you have ever seen, surrounded by old oaks that have been growing for hundreds of years and are so big you can't wrap your arms around them.  In between the oaks were several treehouses, designed and built by Mr. Treehouse Master himself, Pete Nelson.

We snuck up the night before and drove to Pennsylvania and had a cozy Italian dinner by the fire in a little town in the middle of nowhere before we settled into our hotel.  The next morning, after we had just enjoyed a week of beautiful spring weather, we woke up stunned at the sight of snowflakes falling.  That wasn't going to deter us from our visit. My gas-station breakfast obsessed friend treated us to the finest that Wawa had to offer and off we went.

We had the thousands of acres nearly to ourselves.  It was beautifully still and quiet.  We climbed into one of the treehouses and all proclaimed we would like to live there.  And we almost had our chance as the groundskeeper started shutting down the treehouse while we were in it.  They were closing many exterior features of Longwood for safety precautions with the snow.  

Snow didn't stop us.  Or at least, it didn't stop one of us.  The definition of "wild and crazy" changes once you become a middle aged mom and the adrenaline rush of nearly illegal activity was upon my friend as she jumped the barricade to one of the other treehouses that was shut down because she desperately wanted to see inside.  The rest of stood nervously stood on the lookout for the garden guards. A renegade disguised in mom jeans, she is.

We trekked on, following the same friend who claimed she knew how to lead us around using her very soggy map.  After being lost in the woods a few times, dutifully following all the way, we were grateful to find civilization in the form of the original house of Mr. DuPont, the owner of Longwood Gardens before he donated it.  We toured the home and then proceeded to tour the stunning indoor gardens.  

Words cannot describe the beauty of the indoor gardens combined with the cocktail of aromatic bliss that hit you as you walked in.  We filled our camera's memories with a thousand or so pictures and then decided we needed to make a visit to Longwood a quarterly event together to enjoy the ever changing beauty that it offered during every season.

After Longwood we drifted down to Intercourse, PA, to enjoy some Amish treats and shopping.  Armed with "the best of" from TripAdvisor on our phones, a girlfriend found the most delicious Amish pretzel store.  We filled our arms with more pretzel varieties than we could carry then sat in the car and had a sampling between us of the most delicious pretzels I have ever tasted.  After we grew our curly tails and started oinking, we did some shopping, hit an Amish market and started for home.

After insisting the whole trip, despite our laughing, that there was such a thing called an Amish Log, she finally found it!

No girlfriend collage would be complete if you didn't have one in the bunch that liked to eat at the grossest, hole-in-the-wall type of restaurants.  At her insistence, we stopped at one of those for dinner and she laughed her way through watching me wiping down the community salsa bottle and washing my mouth out with hand sanitizer when we finished the dinner.  I was pretty sure that none of us were going to make it home healthy.  So when she started getting sick on the way home, it only became a source of laughter for the rest of us.  Remember how good girlfriends will find laughter in every negative?  Mine do, even when one wants to throw up.

Despite the gloomy rain and disheartening challenges of Bridger's medical and educational management the past few months, I still have a bounce to my step and in a quiet moment of my day can still find myself in laughter from just a memory, thanks to my girlfriends.

This is a blog about life with a special needs child.  What does that have to do with girlfriends, you ask?


Girlfriends are needed in Life with a Side of Special.