When Mike and I bought our house, we moved close to my childhood best friends. I was really excited about seeing them a lot more, and watching our kids grow up together. So far, it’s been great. The kids are all wonderful friends despite their age differences. They remind me a lot of when my brother and I were kids and our cousins would come over. We were four to five years older than them, but it didn’t matter because they were family. My kids and my friends’ kids play like family.

The problem is that we, the matriarchs of this “family”, rarely get time with each other without our kids around. Sure, we get moments together at birthday parties and playdates, but we can’t really get into any real discussions with little kids around. Even when we shove all the children outside or into a playroom, someone always needs a snack/band-aid/diaper. I sometimes I’ll leave a two-hour playdate feeling like I only finished half of a conversation.

We have to schedule our girls’ nights months in advance, and even then it’s hard. We have to coordinate around teaching and nursing schedules. We have to make sure our husbands aren’t working or coaching. And as our kids get older, we have to work around their schedules, too. And even with all the advanced planning, one of us usually ends up having to drop out at the last-minute.

Last night we managed a girls’ night with three of us. It’s so nice to have a leisurely meal, where we could talk freely without worrying that little ears were listening. I know I really need that time with my friends to vent and get advice. I get perspective from their struggles with students, or patients they’ve lost. Especially the patients they’ve lost. Hearing about the tragic deaths of mothers and babies (they’re all tragic) takes me back to that place…it’s a gut check.

But we laugh, too. Especially when we talk about our ridiculous kids, or reminisce, or make plans for our fortieth (or fiftieth, depending on who you ask) birthdays. We leave every girls’ night talking about how we need to have another one soon, but of course, it’s never as soon as we’d like. Until then, we’ll steal moments here and there while we watch our kids make new memories together.