Monday, May 24, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Fresh off of my high school reunion trip, I got to have yet another girls' get-away this weekend. My friend Michele invited six of us out to her parent's house on Cape Cod. We were all mothers, all in our 40's, all grateful to be drinking Margaritas and sleeping without the constant rat-a-tat-tat of demands from the tiny and not-so-tiny people who live with us.

Inevitably when I'm with one of these groups, talk turns to our fading memories. Someone always brings up a study she's read about how we'll get our memories back after our kids move out and we don't have to multi-task so relentlessly. Then someone else asks where she read that study, and she isn't able to remember.

There's a certain comfort to living these familiar exchanges again and again. Even if we are relative strangers, we are sisters in that we share common concerns and inside jokes. And if you put us together, our convictions get even stronger and sharper. Shakespeare understood this about women. When he put more than two of them together on stage (which he almost never did), they become forces to be reckoned with: whether it was The Weird Sisters casting a bad-ass spell, or Queen Margaret teaching Elizabeth and the Duchess how to curse.

We were far too content to spend time spinning spells this weekend, but together we were able to recall the names of all four children in Flowers in the Attic. (Sure, anyone can get Chris and Catherine, but what about those poor twins with the over-sized heads? It takes a village, people.) Accessing these coming-of-age memories matters much more to me than remembering the last names of the three Dans I had in my Shakespeare class last semester, or the fact that I need to buy applesauce squeezers for my son's lunchbox.

When shall we all meet again?

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