This past weekend, I enjoyed one of my very favorite weekends of the year. You see, every November (or sometimes, it has been December), seven of my dearest friends and I go on our “Annual Chicago Shopping Weekend”.
Eighteen years ago, most of us were all working and teaching in the same elementary building. We played Bunko together and still do, eighteen years later…wow! Well, a plan was devised to have a girls’ weekend in Chicago, full of shopping and fun. Eighteen years later, we are still setting aside a weekend to be together to shop, eat, drink, and cherish the friendships God has blessed us with.
Now, though I’ve been apart of this group for eighteen years, the first year, I wasn’t able to go. (That would be called…being only a few years out of college and trying to live on a teacher’s salary. AKA…no money.) But for the past seventeen, I’ve been able to make it and I absolutely. love. the. memories. we. make.
There used to be twelve of us, but some moved away and others found that though they loved the friendship piece of this whole weekend, serious shopping was always a “must” and some just didn’t love shopping that much. As in twelve-hour-day shopping. So, for the past seven years or so, it has been the eight of us.
You all. I can’t tell you how blessed I am by each of these gals. It’s crazy how we can be so different in ages (from 41 years old to 64 years old), have such different lifestyles, be at such different seasons in each of our lives, yet. Yet. We all love each other and value the bond of friendship that we have. We are BLESSED.
This year, we had decided to spend our weekend in Des Moines, due to people having family and job circumstances coming up. We knew this would be much closer and easier and we knew it isn’t just about Chicago (though, we’ll be back there next year)…it’s about being together.
Friends, my heart is full. By Friday evening, seven of us were together (one more came Saturday after a job obligation) and we laughed and told stories and caught up on each of our lives. Saturday and Sunday, we continued to shop, but as the years have gone by, it’s become less about the shopping and more about just being together. Life gets busy and some have moved away, but we always set aside a weekend in November to get together to shop and laugh and cry and eat and drink and be merry.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want each of these gals to know that I am soooo thankful for them. Through marriages, births, deaths, new jobs, new cities, new homes, throughout all of life’s ups and downs…these gals are some of my best friends.
Here’s a stroll down memory lane with these dear friends of mine…
So, I raise a toast to these gals and thank God for bringing them to my life. Mary Jo, Mary, Ginger, Eileen, Joan, Angi, and Kelly…I love you all! And here’s to many more years of friendship, shopping, and making memories together!!!