First, you immediately abandon your healthy eating/alcohol abstinence plan for the first couple of weeks in July. You plan to pretend you aren't an American suburban housewife with three kids for those 9 days, to the extent possible.
The next thing to go is sleep, which became apparent on Day 1 of the visit. You set a self imposed curfew of midnight, then you extend it by 30 minutes. And then another. And another. Then you lose track of time and say fuck it and stay up into the wee hours talking and laughing about anything and everything. You realize how much you have missed your friend, who after 16 years, is more like family.
You wake up completely hungover on Day 2, the 4th of July, but resolve to do something fun, because you can't have a British visitor come to Washington, DC for the 4th and not see fireworks or do something American-y. You look outside and see pouring rain. So you spend the day at the Winery at Bull Run instead, with kids in tow and a husband willing to be the designated driver.
When your kids start to get restless, your friend introduces them and you to snapchat and you all become obsessed with the pictures feature where you can do weird things to your face. Much laughter ensures, the loudest by the adults. Hours of enjoyment were had.
That evening, you set a bedtime again, and once again abandon it. You realize that this is just how it's going to go for 9 days, and it's entirely worth it to spend time with a best friend you rarely see. You cancel your reservation to go to a Precision Running class on the morning of Day 3.
After two days of drinking, you vow to have a chill day. You bring your English friend along to preschool pick ups and drop offs, and he even agrees to babysit for a brief stint, after you promise him that the 2 year old will sleep the whole time anyway, and even if he wakes up, he wouldn't have pooped. (You lie about both, and your friend changes his first ever diaper).
Around 5pm, you decide that going out to dinner can still constitute a chill night. You walk into Bethesda and go to Passion Fish and upon arriving see camera men and lights and HOLY CRAP THEY ARE FILMING THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF POTOMAC AND YOU AND YOUR FRIEND MAY BE THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT ACTUALLY WATCHED EVERY EPISODE. Excitement ensues and must be quelled in order to enter a sophisticated, quiet restaurant. You discourage your friend from "accidentally" tripping on the floor near the filming and proclaiming his love of the show in an exaggerated English accent. The fact that you didn't take a picture is criminal, but this was the housewife that was there (with an unknown friend - perhaps a new cast member for the second season?):
|Robyn Dixon - she looked absolutely fabulous in person.|
You decide cocktails are in order for the occasion, and the night follows the pattern of the previous ones.
By Day 4, you are exhausted, but you power through. You've endured childbirth, newborn induced insomnia, and working at a law firm. Sleep is for the weak, and you have big plans for Wednesday night - tickets to see the 90s cover band, White Ford Bronco at the National Building Museum. Your friend is excited that he will be able to say he did one cultural thing during his visit, and to prove it you take fun pictures within the Iceberg exhibit...
You watch with disgust, horror, and mild interest as a random couple make out....
|See back right.|
And you dance like crazy to 90s hits that shockingly your British friend has never heard before.
|Corrina and I breaking it down to a Blink 182 cover. |
|Colin Samuel with his friend Sam.|
On Day 6, you give your British friend the quintessential Friday night suburban housewife experience. First stop, a home in Chevy Chase, DC for Friday movie night with the kids, and second stop, cocktails on the patio at a friend's house in Potomac (sans kids). You put on makeup for the occasion (and explain that this is basically the only time you do that), and your friend is extremely patient with you and your mom friends as you gossip about schools and paint colors and when you will once again start the Whole 30, if ever.
|Me with a little bit of make-up.|
Your friend meshes with everyone (as he always does) and you start to wonder how you ever will get on without him. You attempt to convince him to leave London and move into your basement. He considers.
On Day 7 your friend joins you on an overnight trip to the Eastern shore and stands in as husband and father for you and your two older children (as the actual husband and father stayed back with the toddler). He manages to wake up before 8am and not kill your kids on the two hour drive to a beautiful house your friends have rented right outside of St. Michael's. He meets 4 of your best friends and a couple of their husbands upon arrival and everyone loves him immediately. One thing you've always loved about him - you truly can take him anywhere.
You take nice photos on the dock.
You nearly die together when you allow your 7 year old to drive a golf cart (this may very well be the funniest video ever taken - watch until the end):
You partake in plank competitions (all groups of friends do this, right?). Out of 6 participants, your friend wins (you come in third at an impressive 3 minutes).
Your group plays a riveting game of Cards Against Humanity, which your friend also wins. No pictures were taken (which was probably for the best). But, it must be recorded for posterity that the best card played during the two hour session was "Dick Fingers." You finally go to bed around 1:30am only to realize that the king sized bed you and your friend are sharing is miniature in length and your legs hang off at the shins. The involuntary laughter that ensues keeps you both up for even longer.
On Day 8, you wake up in pain. You realize that the reason your friend has been able to keep going so well all week is that he gets to sleep in as late as he wants. As you get out of bed at 7am to make breakfast for your kids, you hate him and love him at the same time.
You pack up, you rally, you drive home (your friend is lucky enough not to have a driver's license), and you manage not to have a panic attack navigating the Bay Bridge. Your passengers are irritatingly chipper, but you realize it's because they've finally bonded.
You know it's your friend's last night in town, and you vow to go to bed at a reasonable hour, as surely you cannot go on. But somehow, after all the kids go to bed and your husband has passed out, you push back your bedtime in 30 minute increments once again. And before you know it, both you and your friend are crying because it will all be over soon.
You would think that Day 9 would be a mundane, standard day since your friend has to leave for the airport at 4pm, but you would be wrong. Unfortunately, there are some stories from that day that cannot be shared, including a video of the craziest uber driver ever. Your friend is holding that video close so that he can start a website about crazy taxi/uber drivers and earn enough money to fly back to the U.S. whenever he wants.
That evening, with life back to normal and the opportunity to get a restful, full night's sleep, you are depressed.
You are depressed because once again, you are alone. Having a co-stay at home parent for 9 days has been wonderful, and the solitude of making the kids dinner and putting them to bed by yourself, with your husband working late, is stark.
You are depressed because as exhausting as the past 9 days were, they were fun. More fun than you have had in any consecutive 9 day period since God knows when. Your friend brings you back to who you were before having kids - before settling down, and being responsible, and worrying about getting enough sleep. To the time when you were free and young and energetic, and you miss that person. Sometimes it's hard to fathom that that person could have ever been you.
You are depressed because you have gained 5 pounds in 9 days.
But you are also happy. You are happy because you had 9 days with a lifelong friend, filled with laughter, deep talks, and memories you'll reminisce about for years come. You are happy to have a husband that pitched in to allow you to do all of that. You are happy that you have three amazing kids kids that truly love your friend, and that the feeling is mutual.
You are also happy because you realize that soul mates don't only exist in romantic relationships, they come in many different shapes and forms, and that your friend is the yin to your yang. You realize how lucky you are to have found that person, and that friends never lose their importance in your life, no matter how old you get, and no matter how entrenched in motherhood you become.
You are just happy.
And then, you sleep for 10 hours straight.
We love you, Sam!
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