I had an amazing weekend! on Saturday I borrowed my in-laws house on a beautiful lake in Carrollton and met up with three close friends from college. The first great part of the weekend was our new GPS showing me a brand new time saving way to get there- it was a very pleasant, much shorter trip than usual. I arrived a few hours before my friends, so I sat on the dock and slowly moved between thumbing through a magazine, reading a book, and drinking coffee while staring off into the lake. Every so often I could hear a woodpecker, or the leaves behind me rustle as a chipmunk scampered through the yard. I could hear the fish in the lake jump and the geese honk as they flew overhead. All around me, moved by the occasional breeze, the leaves fell, floating down gently to the dock or landing in the water. I found myself really looking forward to my friend's arriving and yet totally enjoying this very quiet moment. I find myself alone a lot; in the car, driving to the communities in my portfolio for work, or in my home office, usually on the phone. During those moments my mind is always on, multi-tasking and solving problems, putting out fires and coaching. This quiet time at the lake allowed my mind to completely slow down. I could literally feel all those thoughts that usually run through my head at all times like a steam train - work and dinner and laundry and day care pick up and meetings and grocery shopping and serbia and music class and alone time with my husband and mom's needs- all slipped out of my brain. I sat there picturing them sliding down and slipping into the cool water, floating away. By the time my first friend arrived those thoughts were completely gone and I was completely relaxed.
That evening my friends and I laughed and played board games and drank wine and reminisced about our younger college years. We discussed children and adoptions and divorce and marriage. We delved into careers and dreams and paths our lives didn't take. We are four very different women tied together by a bond formed 20 years ago in the Kent State University School of Music hallways. It felt as though we had just seen each other last month, instead of last year. That is the great thing about old friends; no matter how much time passes before you finally get together, once you do, it seems as though no time has passed at all.
Along with spending a relaxed evening full of laughter and fun with my dear friends something else happened this weekend at the lake. One of my friends really liked the setting. Small homes nestled against a private lake struck a chord in my friend. As we walked down to the dam I felt as though I was looking at the lake through different eyes. Her eyes. I like the lake. I always have a good time when we visit there. But we haven't spent as much time there since our son has joined our family. Get away spots such as this see this happen all the time; families change and grow and what was once a favorite vacation spot becomes a less visited weekend here and there, often tapering off to nothing until the family structure ebbs and flows again- teenagers who wanted nothing to do with the once loved lake leave the house, leaving behind parents with more time on their hands. Suddenly the lake homes come alive again as the empty nesters begin spending more and more time there, followed by son and daughter in laws and then little ones. The new young families begin to raise their children on this tradition, until those little ones become busy teenagers and the cycle begins again.
Seeing the quiet and beauty of this spot through my friend's eyes reminded me that this time we have with our family so young is fleeting. We need to not let it slip by us. I am already planning next summer's visits to the lake!