The M.A.K Weekend
The M.A.K. Weekend
My friend Cheryl and I raised our kids together. Her second daughter and my first daughter were born within days of each other. Living in a lake community, our mornings were about coffee talk, laundry and housework, followed by packing a lunch and heading to the beach. That is where we spent our afternoons. With our beach chairs in the water, picking sand out of the chip bag and taking turns keeping the kids from drowning.
We always had a great time when we were together but day to day parenting of toddlers certainly took it’s toll on this couple of cool, smart, funny, hip ladies.
While our husbands were out conquering the world, we were teaching toddlers life lessons like how to share, preventing “shark attacks” (my endearing language for when children bite each other) and catching chewed up food that each other’s children were choking on.
One day while sitting in my back yard while the kids played, we were trying to have a deep and connecting conversation.
This is how it went…
No no… give that back… she had it first.
OK, what were you saying, Cheryl?
Wait! no no… we have to share… it’s ok… don’t cry… you’ll get a turn next…
Ok, Cheryl, where were we?
UGH! No hitting…. we don’t hit. I know you are frustrated but hitting hurts people… Tell her you won’t hit her again, tell your friend you are sorry.
OK Cheryl, back to you!
Grapes? you want grapes? Ok. Cheryl, I’ll be right back….
It was ridiculous! Two grown women 3 small children and not one complete sentence! We were dying inside. We were desperate to connect as women. As friends. As two beings that were living similar lives and wanting to talk it through. We wanted to dig deep and remember who the fuck we were and then… it happened. Cheryl said these words and I’ll never forget them. She said, “let’s go away for a weekend! Just us! No kids, no husbands, no cutting anyone’s meat, no holding anyone’s hand when we cross the street and no wiping anyone’s ass! Just me and you, what do you think?” “What do I think?!?! I think, when do we leave?!?!” And the annual Moms Against Kids Weekend was born.
From that day on, we planned a trip every year while the kids were small. We went to Lake George a couple of times, Virginia another time, California with a quick stop in Vegas (where we won 50 bucks in a slot machine at the airport!), it didn’t matter where we went, it was always what we needed! Peace. It was complete sentences and reminding ourselves of our independence as human beings. It was important. It was 72 hours of nourishing our own souls. Giving back to ourselves and replenishing our “wells of giving”. The Moms Against Kids Weekend became the glue that held us together as women, as mothers and as friends. Planning it was almost as rewarding as actually going away. Talking about it, thinking about it, packing for it… all in anticipation of uninterrupted sleep, peaceful meals and complete sentences.
As women, we focus outward. It’s the law of the land and it’s a role that we (mostly) embrace. We nurture our families, we volunteer in our communities and we make baked ziti for sick friends. But when do we do US? A manicure? That is NOT doing us! That is 20 minutes of answering texts and phone calls about missing socks and what’s for dinner, with a coat of polish. There is nothing replenishing about this experience.
We must feed our souls. We must open our selves to a friend, let our walls down and be vulnerable. We need to laugh and cry in the space of nonjudgmental friendship and you can’t do that while chasing a toddler around a play group!
Cheryl, your wise words have stayed with me for 20 years and I will never let them go. There was nothing selfish about us going away together, sleeping late, enjoying gourmet meals, napping on the beach, shopping or talking until our throats were dry. Our families needed our time away. They needed us to re-find ourselves, replenish our wells of giving and at the same time, they needed to teach our kids to eat kraft macaroni and cheese out of the pot!!!