Laughter is the best medicine

If you are very lucky you will have certain people in your life that fill your cup.  People that give you a sense of belonging and provide a sense of security that feels like a warm blanket just by being in their presence.

It goes without saying that my family fills that role for me.  My kids and my husband are my home.  This post isn’t about them.  This is about my spiritual posse.  A group of women that came together from all over the world to help each other get through the first year of parenting twins and have stuck together for 15 years now.

Every year we plan a trip somewhere to get together for a few days and reconnect in person.   A long weekend of relaxing, talking, eating, drinking and most of all laughing.  From the moment the planes land on Thursday until we say goodbyes at the airport on Sunday, we laugh until our throats are raw, our mascara is gone and bellies hurt.

There are serious moments too.  Times when we share things from our lives that we only gloss over on the internet.  We bond and support each other through divorces, deaths, parenting fears and failures, financial troubles, and personal crises.  But both between and sometimes even during those serious moments we find things to laugh about.

Fifteen years ago we started off on an internet forum sharing advice about breastfeeding, sleeping through the night, and car seats.  All of us faced with the challenges of parenting multiples.  We met in person for the first time when our babies were all around one year old.  a group of sleep-deprived mothers wandering around Vegas in a daze. People in our real lives thought we were all crazy flying across the country to meet strangers we met on the internet. I think I slept a total of 2 hours that whole weekend but I left energized and looking forward to another trip the following year.

Over the years we refined the planning.  Renting a big house instead of staying in hotels, less touristy plans and more just plans to spend time together.  It didn’t matter where we went, just that we had this one sacred weekend to bask in our friendship and laugh.

Last weekend we met in Dallas.  Only 9 of us were able to come this year.  Others were missed that couldn’t come but it was still a fantastic trip.  I was taken care of by the best moms I know and reconnected with some of my very best friends.  We reminisced about past trips and when our kids were young.  We talked about the newer challenges of parenting teenagers.  We laughed.  We laughed a lot and it felt so good.  My body needed that release and while the traveling was taxing the relaxation and comfort was rejuvenating.  Both good for my soul and my body.

Two realizations came from this trip.  First, that we have changed so much since the beginning.  We have all grown as parents and people.  We aren’t the same women, most of us in our late 20’s to mid 30’s obsessing over the minutia of everyday childcare and household management.  Now we are all in our mid 40’s to early 50’s and we have expanded our focus beyond just our children to our careers, personal goals and interests and retirement planning.  That’s not to say we aren’t still a bit obsessed with our children but now we are in maintenance mode, quality time over the quantity of time we spend with them.  Watching over them from more of a distance hoping they make the right choices and being a soft place to land when they don’t.  Before we hovered and made all of the decisions for them.

The second realization is that we have been together, relying on each other for 15 years.  Our teenagers are halfway to the point we all were when we first found each other.  In another 5 or so years they will be out of our houses and beginning their adult lives.

Will we still be meeting for long weekends every October?  Will we still be friends that we reach out to almost daily?  I hope so.  If not, there will be a void in my life.  I’m not sure there is enough medicine in the world that could replace the very best treatment of all…laughter.

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