by Joanne Rock
I took a few days off earlier this month and had such a fun time. I felt a smidgen of guilt since my free time coincided with Mother’s Day weekend and I didn’t do anything with my mom. I also didn’t do anything with my husband and sons, abandoning them when the rest of the world is celebrating motherhood. But it was time off and I opted to spend it with a girlfriend I don’t see often.
My sister has been doing this for years—once a year long weekends with a girlfriend. They don’t live close together so they fly to an agreed upon new city to explore. Nashville, New Orleans, Savannah were all on the list and I envied her those times. With good reason, as it turns out. Since I learned a few things from my own recent girls’ weekend.
First, it’s like being a teenager again in that you are focused only on yourself. I mean, a little bit my friends’ needs crossed my radar. But we’ve been friends for so long that her interests and needs are similar to mine. That’s why we chose each other as friends! So the mindset of each day is decadently self-centered. I didn’t concern myself with whether or not an activity would entertain my sons or if I might be spending too much time playing with makeup at the makeup counter. My time table and activity choices were completely my own.
Second, I’ve retreated so far into Guy World that it was good to get out for a few days. I love my family full of males. I’m having a blast watching playoff hockey and I genuinely enjoy sports of all kinds. But those are interests I found later in life because of them. Before my days as a mom and wife, I was The Ultimate Girlie Girl, drawn to all things romantic and mysterious. And pink. So during my girl time, I tried on jewelry, ate pretty cupcakes and—did I mention?—played at the makeup counter. I tried on oodles of clothes and didn’t rush, making multiple trips to the dressing room with arms full of things that might be great. You’d think that I would have ended up overspending, but at the end of the day, I was a wiser shopper for taking my time and being discerning, only picking what I loved instead of rushing through the store in haste to snap up things that “might” work since I didn’t have enough time to try things on.
Interestingly, when I mentioned this blog to my other wonderful dear friend— fellow author Catherine Mann- she said “you had Red Tent time.” Which is our personal short hand for the book we both read long ago, Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. Do you remember that one? Its 20th anniversary is coming up as it was released in 1997 and Cathy and I read it close to that time. Like many readers, we appreciated the reimagining of the lives of women from the Bible, and enjoyed the idea that they retreated once a month to the red tent—a place for women only. While technically, those women removed themselves from men’s society during the time of menstruation when they were “unclean,” it was clear they enjoyed the escape just fine. They spoke freely, enjoyed each other’s company, and operated on a different time table, which is something we all need to do sometimes.
I’m going to leave you with a photo from our girls’ time…. The picnic fare we put together for the Play in the Park we saw on Mother’s Day. I’m also going to give away a prize pack with a few self-indulgent things for YOU to treat yourself—bath goodies from L’Occitaine, a pretty and very girlie makeup bag for your purse, and my most recent Harlequin Superromance, DANCES UNDER THE HARVEST MOON, that is a 2016 RITA finalist. Enter to win by telling me the last time you took a girls’ weekend, your favorite thing to do when you have girls’ only time, or happy destination for you and your friends! I’ll choose one random poster next week and don’t forget to keep an eye out for my latest book, SECRET BABY SCANDAL, a Harlequin Desire in stores now ;-).