This is going to be a whole lot of words and a mixed bag of emotions to make a couple of simple points, but bear with me, I’m hoping by the end of this letter you’ll understand why I’m grateful you got me out of the house one cool night in November, 2009.
I received an invite to join you for ladies night out, and truth is, I really didn’t want to go out.
Before I go any deeper, let me explain girls.
I was an extroverted party girl for two years of my life, at most. But those days are long gone.
I’m an introvert by nature, so if you ask me at any given moment to plan my ideal weekend night, I’d list the following:
1) Stay at home, have pizza delivered, and watch a movie with my husband.
2) Go out for dinner with my family, come back and play a game and/or watch a movie together.
3) Go out by myself, do a little shopping and catch a double feature.
4) Stay in for a quiet evening at home, then once everyone’s in bed, read a book, write a blog post, or watch a drama or chick flick of my choosing. Add a box of fruity candy like Mike ‘N Ikes or Sour Patch Kids to make it even better!
If I do get out with other ladies, it’s usually a planned in advance one-on-one coffee or lunch date during the weekday.
I know, super boring and predictable. 🙂
I’m not much of a going out girl. Starting the night at 9:00, 10:00, or 11:00 p.m. very rarely entices me, even if it’s something fun. Going with a big group of people into loud places with lots of hustle and bustle during late night hours typically empties me rather than fills me up.
I’ve struggled with this, girls. Because I know – “Girls just wanna have fun!” And as moms, we really do need a break once in a while.
There have been times I’ve wanted to be the party girl again, I’ve wanted to be the one to organize ladies night out, I’ve wished I was the extroverted one so you knew I’d go out at the drop of a hat. But the truth is, it’s not going to happen, it’s not who I am. I’m over the wishing and wanting to be someone I’m not.
So take all of that that natural introversion, add five years three months of non-stop trauma and drama with my sister who had been battling addiction and mental illness, add the announcement of her pregnancy the month prior, and then add your invitation to go out for ladies night.
I was a mess.
I really didn’t want to go out.
All I wanted to do was stay in, be quiet, and watch a movie with my husband. I believed what I needed was a heavy dose of self-care, time alone, time away at some retreat center, or maybe someone to come over, bring me a big piece of chocolate cake and chat the night away just the two of us.
But I had no excuse. The night was completely open. And I’d told my husband about the invite. Being the (almost always) extreme extrovert he is, he of course encouraged me strongly to join you all for ladies night. And he won!
Only, I wasn’t a very eager participant. I got ready, but buttoned myself up in a turtle-necked tank top and heavy wool sweater.
And here’s the thing you don’t know, ladies…
I cried while I got ready, cried when I came downstairs to tell my husband good-bye (he, of course, reminded me I was going to have a great time!), and had tears on and off again until Jamie drove in the driveway to pick me up.
I was so tired, girls. So exhausted. So spent. So DONE.
Going out to a restaurant and bar for ladies night was the least of my concerns at that moment.
It was dark when you pulled in, Jamie, so I’m pretty sure I wiped my tears and tried to pretend they were never there. Or is my memory failing – did I let some out when I got into the car, but wiped them before we picked up the rest of the girls? I’m not sure, and that detail doesn’t matter. The point is that I didn’t want to go out, didn’t have the emotional or physical energy, and maybe should have opted for self-care in the bathtub instead of karaoke and drinks at a bar, but I knew I needed to do this for my own good.
And here’s the reason I wanted to thank you today…
I actually enjoyed myself that night. I smiled. I laughed. I had fun. Because you invited me.
We went to a nice restaurant to eat, then headed to little bar nobody would know about unless they were locals. There was a bar brawl, and a couple of you sang karaoke after the “famous” local TV anchor took his turn on stage. We chatted about our lives as women and moms, and all was good with the world.
One night out with the ladies. It was as simple as that. No obligation to do it every week or every night. Just one night out. And it made all the difference.
Little did I know, the months ahead would prove to be some of the most exhausting and challenging of my life, which makes me even more grateful looking back, realizing you provided a little relief, a little reprieve, in midst of the storm.
So thank you. Thank you for inviting me, thank you Seth for
forcing me strongly encouraging me to join the ladies night out, and thank you ladies for making the evening enjoyable.
With all sincerity and gratitude for who you who you are,
*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!