Monday March 15, 2016

I am writing from seat 21C on a Sun Country jet, bringing me home to Minnesota. My skin is sun-kissed and my heart is full from time with my girlfriends. 

This girls getaway started in 2013 when the loss of Shannon brought me this group of women who got me out there to play tennis and to show me that I was going to be able to laugh again. 

In the year after Shannon passed, my friends Kula, Kay and Sue got me out on the court once a week and it was fun and easy. When Kay was planning her vacation that spring, she invited the three of us along. So, the tennis trips began.

We returned to Jekyll in 2014 and then last year, Kay kicked it up a notch and rented a house in Palm Springs. Now, not only do we play tennis, we go and watch the professional men and women play at Indian Wells. For a bunch of tennis-loving women, this is heaven.

When we weren’t playing or watching tennis, we were drinking coffee or beer by the pool. Good conversation, good laughs, good friends.

This year, we returned to Palm Springs, but our group was slightly different. Kula is in the middle of her chemo treatments. She completed the 12 weeks of weekly chemo and this week bring the  next phase. Different stronger chemo that will be administered every other week for 8 weeks.

Kula is staying close to home these days, so no trip to the desert in 2016 for her. Our friend Jeannie joined us this year, and it was a great fit. Jeannie is fun and easy to travel with. I really enjoyed getting to know her better. She got to hear some Shannon stories, some of them for the first time. I still love introducing someone new to my children…

Kula was a trooper, sending us texts and asking us who we were watching at the tournament. We did our best to stay in touch with her, without making her think too hard about what she was missing. Damn, we are going to have to take a kick-ass girls trip when Kula is all finished with her treatments.

Dan and Erin somehow managed without me. The had nice weather while I was gone and they were able to get out on the golf course. The high school golf season is just around the corner. I can’t wait…

I took a minute today to look up at that blue sky and thank my girl. Shannon showed me what matters in life - it’s the people. I have these wonderful women in my life, and in so many ways, I have Shannon to thank for that. A gift, for sure.