Friday, May 10, 2013

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

My dear friend Brynne and I have been friends since we were 4 years old, living on the same military base in California.  Her dad got a job in Maryland after a few years in California, and after a number of moves, my family ended up in Virginia for my dad's final job in the Navy when I was 12 years old.  Brynne and I were so excited to be "near" each other again--a few hours' drive is nothing when you're part of a military family and your friends are flung all over the world!  Brynne's family brought her to my parents' house for week-long sleepovers in the summertime, I danced to country music at her parents' house (Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw were big!)--I even drove to Maryland to see Brynne perform in her high school's staging of Li'l Abner.  We met in Baltimore to see the national tour of Les Miserables (kicking off my love of Les Mis and musical theater in general).  We went on a double date sophomore year of high school to Kings Dominion amusement park in Richmond, VA.  Although we did see each other often in those early years of being in neighboring states, we had our own lives and went through long periods where we weren't in touch.  Imagine my surprise my junior year of high school when I checked in for my event at a track meet (the 200m--ugh...) only to see Brynne competing against me in the same event--we had no idea each other would be there, nor that we both ran sprints!  Ha ha.  She beat me handily (the 100 was about as long as I ever wanted to run), and we spent the rest of the meet on my school's bus, away from the noise, catching up on our lives.  She went to college in North Carolina, I stayed in Virginia--we weren't really in touch for those years, although we reconnected when Dan and I got engaged and I knew she had to be in my wedding--that's the kind of friendship we have.  Two years later, I was honored to be in her wedding.  She came all the way to Ohio for my baby shower when I was pregnant with Abby, and she was one of the first visitors we had at the hospital when Jake was born.  She was a lifeline for me when Dan was deployed in 2010 and I lived at my parents' house--she drove an hour each way with her own two kids to hang out with me when Alex was a newborn and I was a mess.  I feel so fortunate for her lifelong friendship, and for the fact that we only live about an hour away from each other at this time in our lives.  It's pretty amazing to see our kids playing together--it's like Jill and Brynne, Part II when Abby and Brynne's daughter get together.  :)  Brynne is a strong, amazing, beautiful, fun girl with the best laugh on the planet--I'm so glad she lived across the street from me 28 years ago so that we could be in each other's lives.

Brynne and me in kindergarten--gymnastics in the talent show!

With her daughter and Abby in school now, our days are not as flexible as they once were--Brynne and I don't get too see each other too much during the school year, other than to celebrate the kids' birthdays.  We have been making an effort to get out every few months, just the two of us--we met for dinner and a movie last fall, we went out for lunch a few months ago, and then Brynne made an awesome suggestion:  Why not take a whole day away from our husbands and kids and go to Kings Dominion like when we were 15 years old?  We coordinated our calendars and came up with a day that worked for both our families--this past Sunday!  I am a huge amusement park fan, but I was a bit nervous--I hadn't been on adult roller coasters since Dan and I went to one for my 24th birthday in Denver...  I was also nervous about leaving Dan to handle a whole day by himself with the kids--I know that sounds kind of silly, because why would that be an issue?  Well, believe it or not, Dan has not had an entire day (wake up to bedtime) by himself with our kids since we started having kids seven years ago.  Not kidding.  That seems crazy to me, but the only other time I've been gone for a day or more was when I went to Boston to visit Kerry in 2011, and Dan took the kids to his parents' house for that trip--so he had a lot of help in my absence!  I've been gone from the kids a few times, but Dan is usually with this was going to be the first time he would be on his own.  I left him with a pep talk, a few scrawled notes for the day, a refrigerator filled with leftovers to heat up for dinner, and hoped for the best!

I got up early and headed out to meet Brynne as the kids were having their breakfast Sunday morning--I purposefully didn't do anything to help with the morning craziness, other than lift Alex out of his crib when I said goodbye, because I wanted Dan to experience the whole day on his own.  :)  It was my day off!  I had a great drive down to where we were meeting, and then I hopped in Brynne's car for the rest of the drive down to Kings Dominion.  We got to the park around 10:30am, and it was cool and overcast--much better than a hot day, but we were both glad we had worn layers.  Here we are looking fresh and excited upon arrival at the park:

Brynne's smile is contagious!

I was looking forward to the coasters, but mostly, I was just giddy about spending the day with my friend, getting to talk about anything and everything...and not having to deal with any kids all day!  I think we were both a little shocked by our lack of stuff--Brynne carried a small backpack for our few things (keys, phones, glasses, tissues for me and my crazy allergies), but I didn't have anything at all...and it was weird!  I'm so used to having a bag with kid-stuff in it, and at least one kid holding my hand at all times--it felt surreal to have that kind of freedom for an entire day.  It was pretty great, I'm not gonna lie.  :)  We spent a lot of time talking about our kiddos, of course, and we missed them terribly, but I firmly believe that getting away for a day makes us better mothers--just because we have kids doesn't mean we shouldn't carve out some time for ourselves to refresh...even though that is hard!

It was the perfect day at the park--it didn't rain at all, the weather was pleasant (I kept my light jacket on all day), and most importantly, there were NO LINES for any of the rides!  We rode every roller coaster in the park before 1pm--some of them more than once!  It was a trip down memory lane for me--I had season tickets to Kings Dominion every summer I was in high school, and I had been there so many times...including one important time with Dan shortly before he moved to New York prior to our senior year of high school (we bought cotton candy and shaved ice and I sang "Seasons of Love" from Rent to him as we sat on one of the stone walls--it was a memorable moment as we prepared for our 525,600 minutes apart...oh, the drama of high school love!).  It was also a reminder of how old I am--a lot of the rides have changed theme or disappeared completely since I was last there.  The Days of Thunder car race ride no longer exists, because that movie probably wasn't worthy of a ride devoted to it in the first place!  The Hurler wooden coaster used to be themed around Wayne's World, with a Stan Nikita's Diner replica right next to it, and Bohemian Rhapsody blasted over the speakers while you waited in line--I still remember Garth telling me that the ride was designed "to test the integrity of straps and snaps" on the pre-ride TV reel (and that right there tells you how many times I've been to KD!).  Now The Hurler has a 50's doo-wop theme--no trace of Wayne's World anywhere, and Brynne and I were too chicken to ask the high schoolers working the ride when it had changed theme...we were worried they would not even know what Wayne's World was!  I also didn't tolerate the coasters as well as I used to--I definitely felt queasy after each one, and it took my stomach some time to settle back down.  That part was rough--I love coasters, and I didn't love feeling like I was going to puke!  I think my congestion was making it worse, but still...I'm getting old.  It also put something else in perspective for me--all the times when my brother, sister, and I dragged my parents to amusement parks and forced either my mom or dad to ride a ride with the odd man out of our 3-kid poor parents!  That thought gave me flashes of my future, riding with one of our kids 10 years from now--when the rides do more than make me queasy...ugh.  I appreciated my parents more than ever after those thoughts occurred to me!

getting ready to ride The Intimidator 305--yes, that's the drop!

After our whirlwind of all the coasters, we stopped for lunch--I was shocked to see that Kings Dominion now offers real food, not just standard park crap food (although that's still there, too, if you're nostalgic for greasy hot dogs).  We were able to get lunch at Subway right there in the park--some of my concerns about my calorie intake for the day were alleviated once we saw the Subway!  Brynne did get a bag of Doritos, though, and those things are totally my weakness--I ate a few, and even though we both agreed that they didn't taste as great as we remembered, we polished off that bag together!  We opted to see a show after lunch (so that we didn't lose our lunches on more coasters!), and there was a country song show ending nearby.  We sat down, watched the end of that show, and then watched the karaoke show that came afterward.  Now, you need to know that Brynne and I have a long history of singing together--we used to sit next to each other on the bus to kindergarten and first grade, and our bus driver would hand us the mic for the whole bus, and we would entertain all the other passengers with our vocal stylings (not sure how we didn't have more enemies!).  We also sang together in the school talent show in first grade--although I use the word "sang" loosely, not because we weren't good singers, but because Brynne got the giggles and laughed through our entire a capella rendition of "Tomorrow" from Annie.  Her famous, contagious giggle...the entire audience was in stitches, I was totally mortified, and we almost knocked each other off the stage trying to elbow each other back to seriousness.  I think we were probably the highlight of the whole talent show, although not for the reasons we wanted to be!  When we went to Kings Dominion in high school together, we recorded ourselves singing "That's What Friends are For" in the singing booth there--and we fully intended to record an updated version on Sunday.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find a singing booth--maybe those things are gone now that youtube and webcams are ready to record every embarrassing thing you do?  But there was that karaoke show...hmmm.

Brynne tried to convince me to get up and do a song myself, but I told her there was no way I was singing on stage without her!  She thought it would be terribly embarrassing, but I pointed out that we didn't know anyone at the park, would never see them again, and we could even go by fake names if she felt more comfortable doing that!  Ha ha.  We walked over to the song board after the show and were trying to see if there was a song we could do together when the guy with the sign-up clipboard came by.  I asked if we could do a duet, and he said Sarah and Jenny signed up for the 6pm show!  For the record, I was Jenny.  :)  It was 3pm at that point, so we walked around the park, got some Rita's Frozen Custard (yum!! and so much for my calorie count!), rode a few coasters again, and then headed back over to the stage.  We got cotton candy to amp us up on sugar before our big debut, and then it was time to go on.  We sang first out of 3 other singers for that show--we did "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (duh).  Sadly, we got no audio or video of the performance, and I honestly couldn't even hear us singing because the music was so loud and the speakers were facing out to the audience...but we had a great time singing, dancing, and acting like total dorks.  :)  I even told the audience about our 1st grade talent show debacle, and how this was a much-needed chance to redeem ourselves.  Brynne didn't laugh this time--although I almost did when we introduced ourselves as Sarah and Jenny!  It was really stupid fun, and I think it's the only time in my life when I haven't had stage fright.  Seriously, no one knew us--who cares if we made fools of ourselves!

driving the antique cars on the wooded path

We ended our day with a final ride on a few of our favorite coasters (The Grizzly is our old school wooden favorite, and the Intimidator 305 rocked our socks off--wow, that thing was fast!), and then we got dinner and sat at an outside table, talking until the park closed at 8pm.  Yep, we closed down the park!  The whole day flew by so fast--we talked the whole drive back to my car, and then sat in her car talking for at least another hour...we probably could have done two days at the park and still had more to discuss!

Brynne has always been an inspiration for me--she has such a positive outlook on life and just a great attitude, and her friendship makes me a better person.  I'm so thankful that we were able to take this day out together--it was a blast, it went by way too fast, and we're already scheming our next escape!  :)  Thanks for such a fantastic idea, a fabulous day, and a priceless friendship, Brynne!  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment