Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time to talk

We talked about vacation plans. We talked about parent-teacher conferences. We talked about food allergies and orthodontia. We talked about the pros and cons of massage. We talked about iPhones and iPads. We talked about how to make risotto and how to dispute a property tax assessment.

With almost 48 hours, we had enough time to cover everything.

I feel so lucky to live in a small, closeknit community in which I have so many friends and acquaintances, but sometimes it seems every encounter is rushed. I run into local friends at school events, at the library, on the running path, in line at the post office….but so often there isn’t enough time for even a complete sentence, let alone a full conversation. And most of us have kids who are old enough now that we can’t blame them for the distraction: it’s not like in the playgroup days, when we couldn’t finish sentences because we were keeping our toddlers from scaling the bookshelf or rolling in a mud puddle. It’s just that we always have someplace else to be.

So when three friends and I planned our second annual springtime getaway weekend together, I counted on finally having time to finish some conversations, and start new ones.

It’s not that everything we discuss is so important. Far from it. Amy told us about her singing dentist. I described the calendar my grandparents had in their lakeside cottage. Recipes and book recommendations were exchanged.

But other conversations unspooled amidst the chatter as well: concerns about our children and parents; the fears and frustrations we encounter every day; ideas and hopes about our own futures.

It didn’t matter what we talked about. We had from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, and it was enough. I arrived back home early Sunday evening with the rare feeling of, for once, not having left any conversations half-finished.

It’s the second consecutive year the four of us have taken this trip. We’ll plan to do it again next year. By then there will be so much more to talk about: matters trivial and profound, uplifting and discouraging. There always is. In the twelve months until then, a lot of conversations will once again go unfinished. Yes, getting away for 48 hours is a huge luxury – and so is having enough time to talk and talk and talk. But it’s enough to know, or even just to hope, that in another year we’ll do it all again.

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