family-travel-blog Every parent needs a little time away from the family and kids once in a while. My time away is once per year with my friends from Chicago. I’ve known these 6 friends for anywhere between 20 and 39 years. It’s an effortless trip that comes together easily, the kind that only really really old friends can make happen. One of us throws out a location and date and it just happens. No arguments, no rehashing, no worrying about where to stay. This year we decided to have girl’s weekend at Hyatt Lost Pines, near Austin, Texas.

These girls know me as well as I know myself. We joke about something that happened 20 years ago – something totally random that any normal person wouldn’t even remember. All I have to do is look at Amanda and we crack up. Katie never stops talking. Jennifer is quiet for 3 hours, not saying a word, and then randomly blurts out something completely insightful and important to the conversation at hand – a point that none of us had even thought of until that moment. Jeni will doodle a picture on a napkin that reminds us of 6th grade and we’ll bust out laughing. As I’m writing this now, Tara just yelled, “All right Melissa, you beyotch, the shower is ready” and it seemed completely normal, even comforting, to be called a beyotch. Friends like this are once in a lifetime and we all know it. For the sanity of all of us, girl’s trip has to happen every April.

This is more of a tribute to my friends than anything. Hyatt Lost Pines was great. Located in the middle of nowhere, outside of Austin, it had a pool, a spa, margaritas and food. That’s all we ever need when we have our yearly trip together. What it did was remind us of how important friendship is.

Amanda and I climbed Mt. Rainier together and she nursed me through one of the bigger heartbreaks of my life at age 25. I know that I can go without talking to her for 4 months (we’re all busy!) and we can pick up right where we left off in our next conversation. Her kids are a little older than mine and she has given me great advice on how to navigate the ins and outs of parenthood. I, in turn, try to make her laugh as much as possible – which isn’t hard because she she loves to laugh when she’s not stressed about work.

Katie is one of the funniest people I know and I could literally do anything and she would be there for me, most of the time without me even asking for help. She instictively knows what I need and when, and has had one of the more interesting lives of all of us. No matter what has happened, she has picked herself up, gotten her shit together and moved on. Katie doesn’t know adversity and she and I could sit together reading the paper without saying a word for 4 hours and then go out for a drink and talk non-stop for 4 more hours. And it’s completely comfortable I need her in my life.

Jennifer and I met in 7th grade, had a million sleepovers in junior high, and sailed right through college and early adulthood with each other nearby. We lived together in a tiny apartment on Lake Shore Drive, survived the neat nick (her) living with the slob (me) and she, too, nursed me through that heartbreak that Amanda nursed me through (we all lived in the same building in Chicago). She has can read people, including me, like a book and never speaks out of turn or says something foolish before she thinks about it. And when she says what she needs to say, it’s important and people listen.

Tara is one of the most fun people ever, hands down. You want to go down to the hotel bar at 2am for fries and one more margarita? Tara’s ok with that. Even if she’s in her pajamas. She embraces life and lives it full on. She and her husband decided not to have children and they travel the world together and it’s so cool. We saw each other yesterday for the first time in three years and it seemed like we had had dinner together three days ago.

Jeni, ah Jeni. Cannot imagine life without this girl. We randomly text each other a quote from our 4th grade teacher and the other one gets it immediately. She made the cutest picture for my daughter when she was born and mailed it to us during our time in Qatar. She is seriously the most nurturing, caring person on the planet. We’ve known each other’s families for 36 years and have shared so much. Looking for a person to get you through pregnancy? Jeni’s your girl.

So those are my closest friends in a nutshell. Who else has a a girl group like this? Can you imagine your life without them?

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