two more weeks

We fly north in two weeks. Two weeks from yesterday, actually. Our children will start at their new school on May 12… and if we’re lucky our moving truck with all our belongings (and second car) will arrive then, too. Or at least by the 15th. We’ll see.

Moving is one of life’s big stressors, right? All that change and upheaval. I have to admit, I like the change and upheaval. I like that professional movers come in and touch everything I own and transport it all for me. I like surrendering a bit. I even like the challenge of figuring out new systems and rules in cities and schools, all the hassle that is involved with setting up a new household. Maybe I’ve been watching the kids play Minecraft too much, but there’s something very rewarding about creating something new and figuring things out without any directions or expectations.

But the part that causes real stress, real anguish, is the actual leaving. The “good-bye.” I. Hate. It. So very, very much. It hurts, you see.

Last night my neighborhood friends threw me a little party. We hadn’t gotten together in a while and it was beyond lovely to reconnect and catch up. They gave me little gifts that represented each of them:  Homemade wind chimes, a plateful of cookies, a travel wine mug celebrating obsessive-compulsive tendencies, a toy frog, a coffee mug filled with a hot cocoa pack and marshmallows… and a doll with an injured and horribly askew leg holding a flag that reads “Man down!” — in six and a half years, a lot of funny and sweet stuff happens. It felt so good to remember. I haven’t laughed so hard or cried/laughed (craughed?) so hard in so long.

Then they gave me these.

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And then, THEN, they sang me a song. They got up in front of me and sang an adapted version of “Hey Soul Sister,” with lyrics re-written by my dear friend who has one of the busiest lives I know of.

Lyrics like “Your move-north pains are in our hearts and eyes and in our brains. We know we wouldn’t forget you, and so we went and let you move up north…. Now we’re few and blue, on the boulevard, in the yard, the way you move ain’t fair, it’s hard… We don’t wanna miss a single thing you do.” If this blog weren’t anonymous and if my friends would allow it I’d post the video. It is epic and bittersweet, like the finest bar of dark chocolate.

It was all too much for me to bear. I can’t even type these words without crying.

I’ve been so extraordinarily lucky, to have moved onto a street populated with great women and good neighbors who turned into true friends. I don’t know what I’m going to do in a couple weeks on a new street, in a new home… Will anybody bring me a plate of cookies? Will anybody run over and introduce themselves and give me everybody’s name and number, and then bring us dinner? Will I be invited to birthday parties, or to long-weekend girls’ getaways? Will I meet friends who can stop by on quiet weeknights when my husband is traveling, and enjoy a glass of wine, and talk and laugh for hours?

It has been idyllic, our life on this street. We’ve been safe and welcomed and happy and healthy.

It will hurt to leave. As excited as I am to start fresh, as thrilled as I am for new opportunities, for growth… It will hurt to leave. A lot.

 

i want to make a new friend…

But we may be moving.

Back story: she’s a neighbor, who I don’t know very well, but we’ve always been cordial. She’s not tight with the other neighbors, but she and her family seem to have her own circle, so that’s not too surprising. I recall several years ago her husband talked with mine about the bank bailouts, and how unfair they were. I recall hearing from some other neighbor that she was really into her church. That, along with the fact that many in our neighborhood at the time expressed initial fascination with Sarah Palin, I jumped to a conclusion: Tea Party.

I got skittish.

My skittishness: it shames me now. And that fact that now it shames me, shames me. Because:

This neighbor? She posted on her facebook page a link to barackobama.com’s run-down of why the Affordable Care Act (ooooooh “Obamacare!”) is good for women. Several of her friends, one in particular, unleashed a torrent of vitriolic posts about it. It was scary. My neighbor didn’t respond to any of it. She did however, later shares a link that I posted on my facebook page, from The Daily Beast, about Paul Ryan’s extreme abortion views. More vitriolic, unhinged posts on her wall. She remained calm, didn’t really respond to it. I read all of it last night, as it happened, and I became incredibly anxious.

“Oh crap,” I thought. “I’ve turned her into somebody her facebook friends won’t like… somebody like me!”

So this morning, I posted numerous dry analyses and articles about Paul Ryan’s and Mitt Romney’s budget and tax plans, trying to give her fuel for her own facebook wall, in case she wanted to share with her vitriolic friends. I took a news quiz by Pew, about the candidates. (I scored 11/11. 🙂 ). I posted it on facebook. And within MINUTES, this neighbor shared it on her wall. I also noticed that she shared her own disagreement with another of her friends on her friend’s wall; her friend took it in stride, and my neighbor said, “I appreciate your humor. I expressed my opinion on my wall and it unleashed a firestorm.”

She was not obsessing, not taking it personally. Perhaps even finding it funny. I could learn from her!

I want to invite this neighbor out for coffee, or a beer. I want to hang out with her and get to know her better, because I’ve wasted four years thinking she was nothing like me, but she actually is at least a little bit like me.

What more does anybody need, really?

What’s to become of me in another country if I get skittish anytime anybody seems like they may not dig my views? What’s to become of me if somebody does express disagreement, and I get all bent out of shape? I’ll be so unhappy.

I need to get over this. I need to make a new friend. I don’t have much time.

And I need to stop rejoicing in the fact that she may in fact dig my views.

Because I should have just reached out anyway. She’s my neighbor. She’s nice.

What more does anybody need, really?

I have time to learn.