12 years ago when we moved to this neighborhood, I wondered if I could ever be friends with the women that lived around me. Back then, I couldn’t imagine what a difference motherhood makes. When Edie was born, I found myself at the park, every afternoon, no matter what, and I seemed to always be there with the same group of neighborhood women, who were also there with their kids, everyday, no matter what, because you just had to get those kids out of the house. Those women have over the years become my dearest friends, my motherhood mentors, my support group, my family. Betty, in particular, who lives just 2 doors down. When her son, 3 years older than Edie, started school, we’d see her walking to the bus stop to wait for the bus every afternoon. At some point in Ben’s kindergarten year, it became a thing for us to walk out and wait with Betty, so that for years before Edie started school, the highlight of our day was sometimes sitting and waiting for Ben to get home from school. Maybe because that was when all the neighborhood kids would gather at the park. But it was also our daily check in with Betty. In time, Edie got on the bus with Ben, and then it was just me & Betty waiting for the bus. And then Ben moved up to the Upper Elementary school, but we’d still pass each other in the flurry of the morning, Edie off to the bus stop, Ben off to school up the street…. and Betty and I would still end up having coffee together at least one morning a week. And maybe lunch one day, happy hour another….We spend holidays and birthdays together, we can together, how many times I’ve helped her rearrange her house, I can’t count. She is a big part of my everyday world. When I have news to share, I generally pop over there first, especially if Pat’s away or out of cell phone range, as has been known to happen. When I need a dash of this or that, I run down to her house and vice versa. She is my friend, my neighbor, my family, and a big part of my everyday world.
And she is moving to New York City.
I’ve known this day was coming. She announced the news when we came back from our big June roadtrip. She had been chattering about it for some time as a possibility, but of course, as I do when I don’t really want to deal with something, I pretty much tuned it out. She said it would happen at the end of summer, that it’s just for a year or two, she’s keeping her house here, and going to return often. She’ll still have work here and it won’t be that different. Except that I won’t see her every day, won’t have coffee with her, won’t be having afternoon tea with her on a regular basis, won’t her have her popping in to borrow a can of black beans….it will be different. My reasons for not wanting her to go are all about me, all about the hole her leaving is going to create in MY world, which in my mind, is making it all about me. And since that is something my mother does, and a behavior I desperately want to not follow, I have pretty much kept mum about her upcoming move. I have tried to be supportive and whenever anyone asks how I feel about this (which has come up with pretty much everyone when they hear the news), I just smile and say I’m just trying to be supportive. Of course, I’m also known to deny things are happening until they actually happen – and yes, I’ve done that with this move. But then, in quite alot of ways, I’ve done that with my entire summer. I told myself and everyone around me, I’d have figured out my job thing by the time school started. That I had all summer to figure out what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. That I was just going to relax and enjoy the summer.
School starts tomorrow. And Betty came down this morning to tell me she’s leaving today. This afternoon.
My world is going to be vastly different come tomorrow morning. These lazy days of sleeping in, of taking my time at getting things done, of throwing something together for dinner at any hour, of wandering down to Betty’s for a quick cocktail……done. At least for the time being. I can’t wrap my head around it, nor do I want to until I have to face it. Which is what I do. And it always seems to work out for me. I’ve known for some time reality is going to kick in tomorrow and I realize it’s going to kick in HARD. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure everyone around me knows it’s going to be hard, so I’m going to hope that my little bubble continues to somehow protect and insulate me. Or is that just part of my ongoing denial? Either way, tomorrow will bring a brand new day with plenty of changes. At least I know this going into it. And I also know, that no matter what, I will adjust and get used to it and face it head on. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy today for what it is. I’m headed to the pool, we’ve got a host of friends meeting us there, and I’m going to watch a gaggle of girls have one last afternoon of pool time, until it’s time to head home and whip up dinner and then, reality will slowly start to hit us, as I’ll have to have a real dinner on the table at a decent hour and have Edie in bed at a decent hour, because we will have to be up at what right now seems like an ungodly hour of 7 am in order to catch that big yellow angel.