Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Girls weekends are a rare diamond of super awesomeness.

Enough said. 
Going away with your girlfriends is a treat.  Several days child free, lots of time to finish sentences, discuss important matters and (this is the best part) to only take care of yourself.

The only socks I picked up off the floor were my own.  That in itself, is a miraculous treat.

The only way a parent can properly switch off and achieve no sock picking up nirvana is by going away.  Far away.  Because you can't do it at home.  Even if we have an afternoon with not much on, I am needed to make a snack or break up an argument or negotiate screen time.  If I'm there, I'm completely essential for these things, of course if I remove myself, things rumble on quite nicely without me.

I'm not quite as necessary as we all think I am.  And I like it.

So having just spent a weekend away (far, like a plane ride away) I have returned refreshed, rejuvenated and needing just a little liver cleansing. Over the 3 days I noticed how much I love my mates, how they make me laugh, how they laugh with (at?) me, what we have in common that makes us friends, and differences in opinion and taste that prove we're all fabulous individuals.

Simply stunning scenery. 
Even though we do have a lot in common, it was fun discovering how differently we do certain things.  Not better or worse, just different.  Based on time available, our priorities, how distracted we are and so on...

The logistics of leaving.

Ranging from a 5 page manifesto printed and stuck to the fridge to a couple of lines on a weekly planner, this was an important part of the preparation.  You are leaving several children and a husband to fend for themselves for a period of time.  There is sport, there are parties, there are prearranged playdates and very likely spontaneous ones.

How you deal with this is up to you.  As the kids get older I feel that their ability to tell their father what they need to do next and to think about what they may need for it, means I don't have to be quite so hands on with the instructions.  Am I delusional?  Perhaps.

And we were away from lunchtime Friday to late Monday afternoon, so we had Monday's pre and post school to think about too.  As I write this on Monday morning, I know they are all safely at school but I have no idea if Josh's violin or Sarah's sax made it there with them this morning.

From where I sit, I don't care.

(The instruments did make it, by the way.  Issy's library bag did not).

How we packed

Packing is a function of time and weather forecasts.  If the place you're going to has very predictable weather and you have time, you can pack sensibly and cleverly, with an excellent selection of easy to care for clothes in tasteful neutrals, ready to be jazzed up with bright and funky jewellery and scarves.

Four girls, three days.  This is only 2/3 of the shoes we brought.
OR you can begin packing 1 hour before you need to leave for a place that should be warmer than Sydney but not that much warmer that could be experiencing the same freakishly summery weather we have, but may also get cool at night.  This is when the trouble starts.

Three pairs of ankle boots anyone?  How about 5 long sleeved tops, but just one measly t shirt for weather that ended up being over 25 degrees every day.

The last minute throw in of a couple of sundresses saved two of us from three days of uncomfortable overdressing.

We were never going to run out of scarves.  Or shoes.

What we forgot

There's always that "oh shit" moment when you realise you've left some completely essential item at home.  For me it's usually a toiletry and this time it was my talc (yes I'm a GRANNY).  But more distressing, I did not pack a bead of jewellery.  Not just me. Two of us completely forgot to put it in.  Any plans of jazzing up our sensible neutrals went out the window.  Luckily this disaster was quickly turned into a bonus as we shopped our little heads off for suitable adornments.

How we communicate with home

Each family had their own ways of communicating.  I liked to keep Mike up to date with my movements, sending quite a few photos of beaches and cocktails (and cocktails near beaches) by text.  He responded with the occasional text updates but no photos.  My compatriots were also senders and receivers of texts, with and without photos, although phone calls were also popular.

What was funny during the phone calls was as soon as a child came on the line, our voices changed, softened, went up at least half an octave.

"Darling!", we would gush. "Sweetie!", we cooed, "I love you soooo much and I miss you".

"You scored a goal/try/hoop?  A merit certificate? Girl/boy of the match? Awesome, you are soooo amazing".

"Yes I wish I could have seen it.  No I'm not coming back today.  Yes I do miss you, I do.  Very much.  Yes I'm having fun.  Of course I'll be back soon.  Yes I'll bring you a present".

Back on the phone to our husbands, we'd revert to normal voice and the conversation immediately became intensely pragmatic.  Instructions were made, suggested locations for lost items given.  An appeal for vegetables to form part of at least one meal.  A suggestion of washing?

We texted, we received texts.  We sent photos and received them back.  Several of the Dads dined together with 8 children at the local club.  Brave souls.

One thing was for sure, if things back home were going pear shaped, we didn't want to know about it.

The fun

We were very much on the same wavelength in this regard.  We were all predisposed to enjoy ourselves and very conscious of how lucky we are to be away in such a beautiful place with awesome people.  So we were quite good at making every minute count, without being stress bunnies about it.

We wined and dined, pre booked a bit, winged it a bit.  Stopped for a mid afternoon cocktail because we could, had brunch at lunchtime because we fancied some eggs and enjoyed a long lunch that started at 2pm and ended well after the sun had set.

The Caprioska is my cocktail soul mate.  Sorry Mojito, it's not you, it's me. 
And back at our lovely accommodation we snacked on soft cheeses and crackers purchased at Woolies.  We had sparkling water and French Champagne.  Some token fruit, tea bags and milk.  That was all we needed.

Maybe I should have had the vegetable conversation with myself.

Now, settled back into reality, I prepare for a day at canteen and think about what to cook for dinner.  Weekends like this vanish in the blink of an eye.

Been away lately? Was it super awesome?