Posts Tagged: friends

Sep 12

Old friends

These are the girls (ok, women, but when we met, 17 years ago, we were just girls!) who taught me what I know about friendship. Thy taught me that friends can argue and then make up, they taught me that friends speak the truth to each other, but, most of all, they taught me the value of laughter–pure, unbridled, laugh so hard someone snorts and someone else pees their pants laughter.

It was with these girls that I started to see the value in myself as a friend and even as a person. These friends told me I was beautiful and I started believing it. These friends lived with me and saw all my “quirks” and middle of the night grumpiness (yes, I was that one in college telling everyone to shut up and get some sleep, Ew, I know, how annoying and uncool) and they still loved me anyway. These friends helped me pick my college major, ate countless meals with me, studied alongside me. We trudged through bad relationships together, became (somewhat) tolerant of differing musical tastes. Later on, we stood up for each other as we all got married, met and admired each others’ babies, wrote long emails and sent texts to keep in touch over the long (sometimes) years in between visits.

And seeing each all together again last night was priceless. We fell back into it, back into the smooth and easy talk pattern of our foursome. We may not be as well acquainted with the day-to-day small things in each others’ lives, but the closeness still remains.

Last night, I felt the love. We went to college eons ago, a lifetime ago. Before husbands and owning houses and PTA meetings and breastfeeding and cancer were even on the radar. I’m happy to report, old friends are as good as gold.


Jun 11


Right before we leave I am always a mess. The house is a disaster zone: there are assorted piles of sleeping bags and propane and camp mugs. I have lists and I am baking cookies and I am yelling and frantic.

And then we get in the car and drive away and it all melts away. When your whole world is reduced to what you can fit into your car (or, even better, on your back), when the sounds that you concentrate on are a gurgling stream and the wind and the birds, when the kids are content to dig in the dirt and run around like little wild animals? That right there is perfection. There is no more worry except “when should we start the s’mores?”

The whole world reduces to the crackling of the flames on the logs, the million stars in the sky, the flask of liquid fire passed from gloved hand to gloved hand as we laugh and eat burnt marshmallows and talk. Oh, I love it.

Jun 11


Anna and Kate, April 2011

Mar 11

Girls’ Weekend: The Mama Perspective

So, you have to know that, in general, our (the girls, that is) saying is “What happens during girls’ weekend, stays in girls’ weekend,” but I can tell you this: I haven’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. And, I will proudly share with you, my reading public, (and I can only share this because it is ME and not anyone else; I cannot share who won in other “categories,” nor can I share just what, exactly, those categories were, but suffice it to say that they were all immensely humorous) that I, Jennifer Johnson Gray, won FIRST PLACE for MOST UGLY CHILDHOOD PHOTO (we all brought baby, childhood, high school, and college pictures). I am so proud. I will not divulge the runner-up. Let’s just say that us Mamas all learned a valuable lesson here: it is ALL about the hair. And feathered bangs a la Farrah Fawcett on a 10 year old who has gappy teeth and a mullet in the back, who is wearing a pink jumper and who is put into a terribly funny and awkward pose by the Sears Photography studio is….oh hell. It is just not good. But it is funny.

We laughed. We sat by the pool. We went to the spa. We laughed. We ate (lots). We laughed. We learned more about each other and, in the process, grew closer. We laughed.

We are already planning our next trip.

We love our babies. We love our husbands. But sometimes Mamas need to get away and just….be. And laugh.

Jan 11


“Push me on the swing, Mama!” she insisted. Wearily, I waved my hand in her general direction. “Hold on…just a few minutes and I will push you.”

“Push me NOW!” she said.

“Not if you’re going to give me THAT attitude,” I mumbled. I turned back to my conversation with MaryJoyce, then glanced back at the swings to check that everything was ok.

Yep. That seems about right. Mom won’t do it, so she finds someone else who will. A very agreeable, super-duper nice friend. I don’t think she ended up reciprocating, though….

Dec 10

Christmas Party

Seven years ago, Adam and I invited four couples over to our house for a Christmas Dinner party. It was so much fun, we decided to do one the next year, and the next, and the next… and so on and so forth.

Our friendships have evolved over the past seven years. Couples have come in and out of our lives for various reasons. Some have divorced. Some have moved away. We’ve all had kids. The one constant is that this is our way of ringing in the holiday season. Our way of telling our friends, “we love you and value our friendship.” Our way of having an excuse for an awesome party. And our way of showing off our culinary skills. Every year it gets (I think I can safely say) bigger and better.

It’s amazing now to do this same thing with all the chaos that comes from having the kiddos running around underfoot now, too!

Last night was the eighth annual Gray Christmas dinner party and…whoa. What a night. I just might have some pictures to share with the internets although…I must definitely preview. Let’s just say that there was maybe just a little (okay, a lot) of alcohol flowing.

Good times, good food, good friends. What a night!

Oct 10

Girl’s Night In

The question came up tonight, as it does sometimes on these occasions. Occasions where one is talking with one’s close friends about serious (and sometimes not so serious) topics.

What do you want to DO before you die?

And of course I have my list of things, things I want to do and experience and taste and savor. But–bottom line–there’s nothing I would rather do, nothing in the whole wide world, not a single thing, that is better than the life than I am living. I’m sure visiting Paris would be cool, but sitting on the floor laughing until the tears roll down my cheeks, looking around at the faces of My Girls? That right there is priceless. That, right there, is living. It’s at the top of my list. Check and Check and Check. Been there, done that, want to do it again, monthly, over and over again.

Thanks, Girls, for helping me have The Time of My Life. You know I love you.

Aug 10

Fun with friends

Anna and I had the opportunity to meet up with another one of my friends (one of my friends that is “in the computer” as Anna says). How amazing that I can arrive at the house of someone I have never seen face to face, pull up a chair, and chat so easily. We had never met, Aimie and I, and yet we have, in a sense, given that we’ve “known” each other for four years or so (online).

Anna and Georgia took to each other like long lost best friends, playing and playing and playing for hours. Anna cried as we pulled away in the car, “but she is my FRIEND! I don’t WANT to leave!!!!!” heartbreaking? Or maybe just a good excuse to visit again soon.

Aug 10

Queens for the weekend

Our lives are usually about wiping bottoms and folding clothes and scraping food remnants off of the table. Our natural habitat is the playground, the grocery store. Our usual attire is yoga pants and a t-shirt, old jeans and a stained tank top. Our hair is usually pulled messily into a ponytail, or hidden under a hat. We’re lucky if it’s washed. We’re lucky if our bodies get washed.

We are tired, we are grumpy, we are overworked and underpaid. There is no overtime. The working conditions are brutal.

We are stay-at-home moms and we have the best job in the world.

But sometimes….sometimes we need to be Queens. We need to take a long shower without our little someones interrupting us (or joining us). We need to wear nicer clothes, style our hair. We need to browse for hours in antique shops. We need to linger over glasses of wine. We need to laugh. Oh, LORDY, do we need to laugh. We need our girlfriends. I never knew it until this weekend but we also need a day to wear tiaras and feather boas and go wine tasting and have every single person we pass stare at us. They might have been laughing (maybe. Fools!), but we choose to reinterpret it as this: they are just jealous because we are Mommies and we are Wives and we are Everyday Women but, most of all, we are Queens. And don’t you forget it.

Congratulations to us for making this dream become a reality. Project Mommy Get-away Weekend 2010 actually happened! And it was awesome. We’re already planning for 2011.

P.S. What happens in Cambria stays in Cambria.

Jul 10

Asking and Receiving

Reminiscent of the biblical “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find,” I asked and my friends came through for me in a major way. I was nervous to ask….I knew it would be okay without help but….well….I did it and I’m glad I did. Thanks so much, girls. I almost didn’t realize how much I needed company until you all started coming in and hugging me. What a blessing, each and every one. : )