Last weekend, I left Indiana in all its blustery glory, along with my four kids and a husband willing to fly solo for a few days. Three friends and I headed south for a girls’ weekend. Other than a few women’s retreats and a weekend with my mom and sister, I can’t remember many other girls’ weekends in my past. It’s so much work to organize everything for the kids and I am not really fond of a lot of traditional girls’ weekend activities. No offense to shopping trips and manicures, they just aren’t my cup of tea. Fortunately, I found three other women who aren’t so traditional in their hobbies either and the three days we spent eating, talking, hiking, and eating some more were ones that I will treasure for a lifetime.
The lack of Macy’s bags and fingernail polish weren’t the only non-traditional elements of our weekend. Our relationships are a bit unique due to the differences in our ages. Two of the “girls” are college students and two of us are, well, not. I will even admit to being older than my fellow non-college student friend Michelle, whose kids are still in that no-one-ties-their-own-shoes-or-independently-buckles-into-the-carseat phase. But our relationships aren’t those of mentor and mentee. Sure, we have given them some insights into marriage and motherhood, probably more insights than they ever wished to have. But these insights are part of a bigger conversation. The conversation of friendship, of equality. Certainly we are aware of the age differential and I must confess to having held my breath once or twice, fearing that someone was going to make a comment about my “daughters.” More than once, I commented to the “girls” how much I appreciated them taking time away from friends and classes in order to hang out with us older folk. They laughed me off and said they felt the same way about us.
While it feels as though the differences in age and stage of life should be a gap to bridge, I have found the diversity refreshing and sweet. By seeing things from different perspectives, our view is broadened and stretched. I think it is a crime that modern evangelical churches seem determined to categorize and separate their congregations by age group. Something is lost in the homogenous nature of “Sunday School for the Older People” and “Small Group for the Not Fully Developed.” Intergenerational relationships seem to be relegated to more artificial settings rather occurring naturally.
Rocky Road is my all-time favorite ice cream. I love the mixture of crunchy almonds, squishy marshmallows, and creamy chocolate. All the different flavors and textures taste so much better together. Just like my weekend away, its sweeter for the contrast.