“Daddy, what's a blow job?” The whole place silenced and turned, wide-eyed at the exclamation as Beth recounted a memorable moment of her first non-talk about sex from childhood. We'd found ourselves in a new slow-food place, downtown Indy on Halloween with two of our dearest friends, beginning to close down a weekend of belonging. We hadn't travelled together before, not much anyway. These women are dear to us, and like family-- not the kind we've cohabitated with; instead they are frequent dinner companions and drinking buddies, dog playdate mates and help with the kids from time to time.
This weekend was a new idea for all of us. Dreamed up after my sabbatical, when it was clear there was a deficit of time invested in this part of our family-- our chosen ones.
It required looking two and half months out to be able to schedule a weekend away. B and I spend one each quarter checking out of town, so it was on our radar, but we've never had company. We were looking forward to it, but also unsure how each of us would have our couple time. Those are the times which emerge, rather than being negotiated ahead of time when you are with family-- there are boundaries created with love between togetherness, couple time, and solo endeavors.
We let each of the days evolve. Beth announced early on she didn't like plans; we wouldn't commit to any specific set of activities or eateries, but we knew we would be together, and that was enough. These are the friends who do things like share a beer in the driveway while my sweetie makes his way home from work, setting the pace and the vibe for our time together. We had a lingering dinner on Friday at a known favorite. Slow coffee led to stumbling, still a little bleary-eyed, down the street to our favorite Milktooth on Saturday morning-- lamb burger with jalapeno and egg, grilled cheese with truffled honey and egg, and the freshest lox atop brioche. Stuffed full, listing desires for the day of taking in some art, and going to our favorite outdoor store.
The weekend didn't really take any shape at all until we landed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We were doing our best to decompress from hectic lives, we needed to empty ourselves and reset before we could refill. It's so interesting how an afternoon at an art museum can help you know yourself in a new way, maybe especially if you take your dear ones to experience it with you.
There are so many assumptions we can make in life; I can't count on all of my fingers and toes how many times a week I find my assumptions dissolve into a truer reality. We entered the art museum to a false roof of books. Waiting to pay our entrance fee, I commented on the impact of walking beneath words, sheltered by story. The most unexpected docent-- a late-teenaged african american security guard-- who looked more boy-like than any art enthusiast I'd ever encountered- filled us in on the details: the exhibit was created by combining donations of the members of the art museum-- it's a commentary on community and art. All are welcome, all belong, he said. There's something for everyone here. Children's books and Laura Bush's autobiography, cookbooks and The Kite Runner. Life takes us in all directions, and they all belong here, taking in the museum.
This is the experience that sets the stage for the rest of our time together. Pieces speaking and calling to each of us in different ways. Beth and I becoming entranced at the video of plummeting paint pots, Babak with the thousands of years-old bull and works of luminism. Tamera instantly in-love with the 60's bathing suit her mother used to don during some of her favorite waterside memories. Something for everyone, and each of us called to something different, even in this gathering of tight friends.
Heading then to REI, we wanted to cast our vote for their #optoutside campaign. Grateful there is a corporation who cares enough about their people to give them a day to get real, we headed into the one place that encourages me to spontaneously spend. This is not a simple consumeristic endeavor though-- Beth and Tamera bought their new tent, their shelter for many of our newest experiences.
Our weekend together. A time of unexpected discoveries of self and others. Of sharing stories of when we first learned about sex, resulting in inappropriately timed exclamations like “Daddy, what's a blow job?” in the middle of an unfamiliar crowd most of whom joined our laughter straight from the belly. Times of discovering through art that we do all really have our own lens of beauty with which we see the world. A weekend where our dear friends' purchase of a new tent at REI tells us that there are more of these to come. More adventures in our future.
May you find your slow-down this weekend, and treasure the ordinary moments which may unexpectedly fill you with joy.