Happy Hour

Well, here’s a fun thing to try. Take four women with four different summer calendars packed with the likes of five business trips, three birthday parties, two extracurricular activities, one wedding (and a partridge in a pear tree?) and find a two hour window in which to celebrate all of the above.

A woman’s calendar is a twisted game of Tetris.

And yet, it happened! We did it. We found a window and squeezed it into the calendar nearly a month ago, and then – the hard part – we did not move it.

Women are notorious for moving it. We are flexible little creatures, shifting time windows here and there like tiny wooden Jenga pieces. Can we move our play date back to 4? May I call you a bit early? How does 6pm work for dinner? I’ll be there in 5 (OK, make it 20).

And in the midst of the shuffle, we sometimes shift aside ourselves, our needs, our hours earmarked for receiving. Everything else seems so… concrete. Unmovable. Dentist appointments and oil changes and family visits and gah, it’s Monday again. Time to take out the trash. Can I get a rain check on that dinner?

But this weekend, on Sunday, our candy-colored Tetris games read just one line: Happy Hour.

I made pear crisps with Gorgonzola and walnuts (recipe here) and we sipped La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (a group favorite!) and we talked the afternoon away, chatting about hopes and fears and unfortunate surnames.

And we were happier for it all. We were happier for pausing, for sitting, for resting, for not daring to move the Tetris line we’d built into our week, the hour we’d reserved for ourselves. The hour we’d reserved for each other.

I forget, every time, how much I need other women. I forget how much I need to hear someone else’s story reverberate against my own, to listen for a pulse that beats in tandem with mine. I forget that women hold library card catalogs in their minds, filled with knowledge and experience and perspective. Looking for hope? Here’s a story. Seeking truth? Listen to this. Want a great recipe for cashew alfredo sauce? Wait a second, let me find it, there, perfect – borrow this one.

I have always been a loner, an introvert, someone who would rather observe than participate, and my female relationships have never been anything spectacular. But I’m learning, slowly, surely, to prioritize the happy hour. To prioritize the friendship. It’s work – the Tetris game, the balance, the expectations – but then again, good work nearly always brings a great reward.

And this weekend, the rewards were aplenty: wine, cheese and a backyard library.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema Winery. The opinions and text are all mine.

  • Yes! I had my girlfriends over last weekend for dinner, bubbly, closet editing (mine, and it was fun!) and together time – it was a month in the planning, but we made it happen. Yay!

      • It was a combination of helping me put together new outfits from what I already have (ankle boots work with that skirt? really?), suggesting a few new items to add, and helping me ditch the stuff I wasn’t sure about. They also assured me I need to embrace more color and less plain black. And I realized there was stuff I didn’t want to put on in front of my girlfriends that HAD to go! = )

  • i too love my alone time, bit there is something about getting together with honest true friends that has a way of filling me up again … and yes friendships are work and commitment … i just caught up face to face with a college friend and we could hardly believe we have known each other for 30 years … it makes quite a foundation … looks like you had a lovely time :)

  • We have had big decisions to make for our youngest over the last several months in regards to some learning challenges he is facing and it’s been such a heavy, exhausting, draining time, but what has sustained me in the “in-between” moments have been a walk here with a girlfriend, or a coffee here with a friend. For the first time I realized why God put us in community as messy as it can be sometimes. It is for those moments of sharing our burdens with one another, those moments of “me too” so we don’t feel so alone, or just for those moments when we just simply need to have a good laugh and enjoy a nice glass of wine!! smile P.S. Just a side note I have really been enjoying Sandra McCracken’s song “Sweet Comfort” Warmly, Ginny

    • Ah, I can so relate to this, Ginny – thank you for sharing your story! And I’ll have to give that song a listen asap!

  • Fantastic! I love my time with my girlfriends. Truly, good friends are a blessing. I’m always happy when we can carve out time for each other.

  • I miss this time SOOO much! Thought I would miss Mexican food and affordable microbrew the most after moving to AUS but it’s actually the mama friend time I miss the most. . Time well spent no matter how many times you have to change those shapes on the way down to make them fit that bottom line! Cheers!

  • I keep thinking about this, and here’s what you do: you elevate the Universal. You welcome us into the party of regular life, where everything might not be topped with sprinkles, but where we’re at least side-by-side at the table.
    I can’t get enough.

    • Oh good gracious, sweet Shannan. You’ve just made my month. Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Come home – the Midwest misses you!)

  • Tetris, that’s it! This is also how I call our car whenever we try to pack and leave for the week-end: a Tetris game. As long as it stays a game…that should be fine ;-)

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