"I think that'll work," I said aloud with a tiny bit of uncertainty. "I'll check with Darrin and if there's anything going on I'll email you first thing in the morning."
There was, in fact, nothing going on except that voice in my head that pushes me towards laziness. The voice that says, "Do you really think you've got enough energy to carry on conversations and attempt to be the least bit interesting? Don't you need to stay home and get ready for the next day? How will you feed your family AND go out for the evening? Do you REALLY feel like fluffing yourself at the END of the day when what you should be getting ready for is that lovely descent in to your PJs?" THAT VOICE.
THAT VOICE is the enemy to spontaneity and optimism. THAT VOICE that can think of a million reasons not to do something which, often, is the very thing that needs doing. THAT VOICE almost won, but it was the voice that actually passed across my vocal chords this morning and told my friend that I'd be there. My real voice AND that of my Man's which said, "You should go, you've not gotten out in a while."
By the time afternoon was rolling around, I began dreading leaving home for the evening. THAT VOICE was yelling loudly in my head "You're NEVER gonna get dinner cooked in time and if you do, you're gonna smell like garlic when you get there. Did you notice the questionable hair day that you're having, you'll have crooked hair all evening and they'll all think you look odd. Do you have anything clean to wear? You probably should stay home and work on the laundry."
I was just about ready to phone in my absence when my Man came home and helped me finish getting dinner ready and began feeding the kids while instructing me to go work on my hair and get ready to go or I'd be late. "I should stay home and help you," THAT VOICE said, having overtaken my real voice.
"Nope," said he, "you'll have a great time once you get there. Now go get ready."
I listened. He was right. I had a super time. I think most of us (8 or 9 present?) were in similar situations, husbands at home tending to children, (one husband tended to two sets of children...two infants and two TWO year olds...we prayed for him during the blessing!), hoping that we'd arrive home just as the kiddos were tucked snuggly into beds, but in the meantime, we just enjoyed the company of other women who are traveling similar journeys through life. There were no earth-shattering conversations, no sharing of deep inner thoughts, no souls laid bare, we left the world's problems to the world for the evening. It was simply enough to be in a familiar setting with familiar characters (and oh weren't we!!). It was both relaxing and energizing.
Two hours quickly passed and it was time to go home. The clock said that the kids should be getting tucked into bed just as I was to arrive. As I neared the house, I could see that there were night lights on in each of the front bedrooms -- a fabulous sign. However, when I entered the house, I could hear lots of voices. Not a good sign. THAT VOICE screamed, "I told you to stay home, these kids should've been in bed...minutes ago! I bet their teeth aren't even brushed yet! Oh and wait till you see the kitchen..."
I rounded the corner to find my Man on the phone. And then I saw the kitchen, the one I'd left in a mass of supper dishes and pots and pans and salad ingredients and crumbs. It was sparkling. My Man had a dish rag in hand (is there anything more attractive???), one daughter was preparing to vacuum the floor, and another had actually found the surface of my desk which is not an easy task at the fresh start of a school year. "Hi Mom! How was your GNO?" I tossed her a puzzled look. "Your Girls' Night Out! Did you have fun?"
Well how 'bout that! I seem to have been "hip" enough to attend an event worthy of abbreviating AND one that has the word "Girl" in it. Not to mention a kitchen that hasn't been this clean in weeks, and kids that were happy to have me home, but were just as happy to have me off for a bit with my friends.
It occurs to me that it might be good for the kids to see what adult friendships look like, especially ones that do their mother so much good. This thought had not occurred to me ever before. I'm quick to try to model a healthy relationship with their father in front of them, but to model being friends, I really had never considered it.
Happily, I report that my GNO was so very "worth it." Worth dealing with THAT VOICE all day, worth fluffing, worth delaying pajamas for, worth a crooked hair do, worth the extra energy, which, it turns out not to have taken in the first place. Worth arriving home to kids who were still awake but were happily spending their extra energy making sure my GNO ended with a bang...they cleaned up after me and left me a good night note:
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer