My day-timer runs from August to August. You see, every August, I meet with six of my childhood friends, and we lock ourselves into a house somewhere in LA for three days. While I love Christmas and the coming of Spring, I love Girls’ Weekend most of all.

The house is a nice one with a pool, hot tub, a good kitchen and plenty of room to spread out. Then, we proceed to revert to our old selves for a long weekend. It has become a tradition that I cannot do without.

We’re an interesting bunch and our tale of togetherness could certainly become a bestselling novel; but don’t hold your breath on that one. 

My BFF Maxine (names are changed to protect… etc.), JoE and I go back nearly 40 years as neighborhood buddies. We latched onto Tricia, Kate, Lorraine and Lynette in junior high and high school. We were the pack to be reckoned with by the time we were in 11th grade – at least, as we saw it – and as far as I’m concerned, we still are!

About six years ago, one of “the Girls” committed suicide. We’d grown apart through college, marriage, children, jobs and logistics and hadn’t spent any considerable time together as a group. JoE, who was closest to her, reached out to all of us. Long story short, we came from everywhere that August. From California, Washington, Idaho and Singapore we traveled to find each other again. It was as if we’d never been apart.

Thanks to technology, we’ve shared our joys, sorrows, tribulations, and our victories through electronic versions of the class notes we passed each other in school. Much like planning the Saturday kegger, we spend months anxiously discussing our Girls’ weekend. Every detail is set from the food to the drinks to the gifts we give to remember our time together.

What happens in the house stays in the house. Suffice it to say, the three days can run the gambit, and I would be lying to say that it is all perfect, but it is the imperfections that make it real. At the end of the weekend, it is always love and tears.

After a weekend with “the Girls,” I am completely rejuvenated and a bit worse for the wear. Nevertheless, I am also elated and empowered. There is such concentrated joy and love in that group of six friends, that it fills every space we enter and every part of my being. 

So, I think of them as I unpack my favorite pink and black bag, and I tear up knowing that I won’t be with them as a group for another 360 some days. But then, I look at the pictures and the presents and remember our yearly pilgrimage to Flo’s Diner including the stalwart tradition of our picture with the bus boy; I read the electronic class notes that fly back and forth following keeping the jokes running; and I am content in the knowledge that they will be there next year and for always.

To all the girls, I love you all so very much. This is my gift.