I went to Chicago over the weekend. My dearest friend from high school lives there and it was time for some girl time. I can’t remember the last time the two of us had spent a moment together that didn’t include our husbands or kids. I recall a dinner out, just the two of us after the birth of my daughter 20 years ago. So, it’s been awhile and long overdue. I am on the cusp of being an empty nester with my youngest starting her senior year of high school and showing little need for my constant companionship. My husband and I have reached that stage where we love to be together, but yearn for time apart occasionally, a weekend away provided that. Her children are at camp for 2 weeks and found that she had the house all to herself for the weekend. I am optimistic that I will be able to take advantage of more weekends with my female friends as the years go on.
We don’t live far from Chicago. The drive is 90 minutes if traffic cooperates and since my friend lives in the Northern suburbs, I don’t have to deal with the hell of downtown Chicago traffic. I left late afternoon Saturday and was happily enjoying a glass of wine (or 2) on her patio by 4:15. After a couple laughs and some really good cheese (thank you Trader Joe’s), we headed to the train station to take the train to the heart of downtown for drinks and dinner. The weather could not have been better for an evening downtown.
We went to City Winery which is on the river, put our names on the wait list and bought a bottle of Rose. For 45 minutes we sat on the river, wine between us and laughed and talked like we hadn’t in a couple decades. For 24 hours we weren’t parents or wives, we were friends. After a delicious dinner we headed to the Hancock building for yes, another glass of wine.
We went to the top of the Hancock building which is 96 stories for a very overpriced glass of wine, but an absolutely gorgeous view of the city. While it nearly killed me to spend $16 on wine (yes that price is correct) I believe it was the cost of being able to take in that view. From 96 stories up, we were able to see Navy Pier and the fireworks that were going off at Lollapalooza. I took pictures, but they don’t do the view justice. I am a terrible photographer and I do not have a phone that is able to take decent night time pictures.
We headed back to her place, via an Uber this time and turned in for the night. After a cup of coffee and scone on Sunday, we took a walk along Lake Michigan on the Northwestern campus. I was able to take in a couple more views of the city before heading back to my family to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was another fun filled weekend on the books.
As my friends and I continue to march through our 40’s and see our 50’s within a couple years, I think it is important for all of us to hold our friendships close. So much of our early adulthood is focused on kids, spouses, jobs and just trying to pay the bills. Our friendships ground us and remind us that we are more than a wife or mother. We are independent of those titles. New Year’s is still several months away, but I already know that I am going to focus of friendships more in 2020. In fact, I think I will make that resolution now.