This winter I got the annual invite from Melynda aka ‘Traveling Mel‘ to go on a ladies cross-country ski retreat at Homestake Lodge, a picturesque cabin nestled in the timbered Continential Divide near Butte. In recent years I had passed up this opportunity, but this time I set down my usual responsibilities and decided to throw my hat into the ring.
I can’t remember the last time I went on a cabin trip with only women — perhaps I never have. I didn’t know many of the ladies that were going to be there. What would it be like? Would I just miss my family? As my husband dropped me off the kids lobbied to stay. Our family loves cabin trips and I love spending time with my family, so why exactly was I was doing this? At the time it felt more selfish than anything.
But as I kissed the kids goodbye I maintained, “this weekend is for me, I need this”. I haven’t been this right about something in a while. I did need this. With my husband and kids back on the road, our little lodge soon came to life with music, laughter and dancing.
Someone brilliant once said: Friendships must be built on a solid foundation of inappropriateness, sarcasm, alcohol and shenanigans. The ladies weekend at Homestake was a lot of just that.
We skied all the following morning, nipping various cocktails along the way. In between liqueur-charged ski expeditions we made the lodge buzz with the good stuff; books, puzzles, human pyramids. Impassioned reenactments of beloved 80’s dance movie scenes were performed with a zeal I cannot really explain (it is no coincidence that these photos do not appear in this post… what happens at Homestake, stays at Homestake — Traveling Mel). We laughed, we cried, we ate damn good enchiladas. We stayed up entirely too late and tippled our way into the wee hours. We pushed our able motherly bodies and fed our souls.
For many of us moms, it felt so delightfully indulgent to do exactly what we wanted: Ski that extra long loop without the usual guilt or anxiety that accompanies motherhood. Not looking at a clock, not checking a phone. Our only responsibility was to ourselves… and it was bliss.
We shared stories of parenthood, wild adventures, how we met our partners — interlaced with the state of politics, both local and national… and inevitably #metoo. It’s an interesting time in our country, to say the least. Women are finding their voices, but it’s new and uncharted territory. I am still working through this movement myself, and I found much appreciated fellowship here.
Between caring for kids (or aging parents), working, running a household, and trying to squeeze in a family adventure here and there; we don’t often make time for ourselves — much less getting together with friends. But when the opportunity arises to connect and play outdoors together, sometimes it is profoundly necessary to set aside the unwashed dishes, the laundry, the emails, the work calls, the texts and leave the clutter behind. All that stuff will be right where you left it when you return; refreshed and reinvigorated.
Despite being severely under-slept and mildly hungover, I came home from Homestake anew: Happy to see my family and hear about their own adventures with Dad. This trip is already on my calendar next year.
And big thanks to all the husbands and dads that made this weekend possible. We appreciate you taking such good care of the kids and keeping the home fires burning so we could ski, be silly, and connect.
Until next time, Erica