Going away

Sunny, Mandy, and I have always talked about going away together. We used to imagine a garret apartment in Paris where we would live poverty-stricken, adventurous lives and would know when not to enter our shared flat due to the colored bandana-over-the-doorknob system that told when one of us had a boy over. I love that we never imagined enough money to have our own space; it was always small and close. When Sunny and I met Mandy in junior high, we started sneaking out of our homes and trying to get in trouble.

I think we were all impatient for MORE: more age and freedom and independence. I know that more than anything, I craved experience. I wanted to rack up experiences like bright beads and wear them as a necklace, a hemp necklace. (It was the 90s). I thought about other girls I knew who followed rules better, many of whom I liked and were my friends but who I didn't necessarily feel as inspired by because they weren't as daring. I thought I'd rather question everything and make mistakes and learn my own way. I remember thinking, "I'd want my child to be this way."

This past weekend, Sunny, Mandy and I finally went away together to Union Pier, on Lake Michigan, with their girls Freddie Jane and Sarah Grace, aged 2-and-a-half and 2 years old.

Photo: Sunny Neater-Dubow

It was nuts in a really calming, wine-drinking, walk to the beach sort of way. In some ways I still see our cravings, the more-more-more thirst for whatever it is we want and in others a bizarrely complementary patience reigns. Slow to marry and mate, their babies are so young and we are all still young enough yet we're 20 years removed from our Paris dream, a dream that specifically wasn't important. None of us had a great love for the French, we just wanted to be out in the world. And we all got into it in our own way.

Photo: Sunny Neater-Dubow

I know that I'm old enough to be slightly terrified at the idea of all of the above: having kids, not having kids, having my kids be like me. When I was younger, I was glad I was so moody, petulant, and pissed off because I thought that meant I was thinking. Now I'm also glad I got out of a lot of scrapes in one piece because that thinking led me down some dark alleys.

I can't look at these little girls and wish dark alleys upon them for the sake of knowledge. I wish them confidence, joy, and curiosity. I watch them run around in circles, laughing and egging each other on and wonder if they'll get along when they're older. I think it's important that they see us make time for each other so that they'll value friendship. We laugh about how they might turn into princess-cheerleaders, so different than we were but we'll quell the cringe and love that about them, too.

I watched Mandy and Sunny sit on the floor and change their daughters into pajamas. Mandy passed a diaper to Sunny and I almost laughed by how similar they still looked to their high school selves, right down to their clothing. Everything has changed, and nothing.


maryann said...

Well said, Jess!
Beautiful photos, beautiful memories...

ronckytonk said...

Thanks Momma