I stepped out on my deck to enjoy the evening last night. It was relatively cool, for this place that I live, around 85 degrees. It was overcast, which made it lovely to be outside. I walked down to my 1/2 garden to water it. (I had been using the sprinkler, but not all of the plants were getting enough water. My tomato plants were taking over. They have grown through the basil plant, buried the marigolds and are heading towards the corn with hungry eyes. The potatoes, while still safe from the clinging vines, are in the rain shadow of the tomato plants. So I've taken to watering them by hand.)

As I started watering, I happened to glance up and notice something on the lawn of my neighbor's house two doors up. My peace at being out in this weather evaporated quickly. It was a "For Sale by Owner" sign.

This has been happening a lot in my neighborhood. Someone up the cul-de-sac from us just took their sign down because they can't sell it in the current market for enough money to make it worth it. There are several "For Sale" signs in the area that I live. There were 2 small differences to this sign though. 2 things that set it apart from the rest of the signs that dotted the lawns.

The first is that there is a girl at that house who is a year younger than my daughter and they are pretty much best friends. There is a threesome in this neighborhood and for the most part, they get along really well. I knew that I had to let my daughter know as soon as possible. She, like me, does not handle change well. So I called to her to have her see the sign. And then I watched her slowly close the deck door in tears.

It hurts to watch my children hurt. This is one of the places that we've lived the longest and my children have finally been able to put down a few roots. And last night, I watched as life began sawing at one of those roots.

I couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle watching her hurt. I moved from watering the garden to mowing the lawn, knowing that I needed to be doing something.

And I cried.

I cried for my daughters pain, and for all the missed opportunities. You see, this is one of the ladies that I have most wanted to get to know. She is very unlike me, except that we both sing. She is neat as a pin and loves scrap booking. I am never quite under control and would love to pay her to do my scrap booking for me. This woman's scrapbooks are works of art. She is such an amazing woman and I feel like I could learn so much from being her friend. We converse easily when we meet out on the street while our kids are playing. And yet, I never have invited her over. I've never made the effort of extending myself. And now this window of opportunity is closing.

I don't know how long their house will be up for sale before they move. I don't even know why they are moving. I haven't talked to her about it yet. I wanted to go over last night and ask for details, but I felt foolish going over. I knew I would break down into tears and I felt like there was no way she could understand what I was going through. It's not like we are super close. It seemed silly to me to cry over a friendship I don't have. So I stayed home and cried while I mowed the lawn and cried into my husbands shirt when he arrived home.

And now I'm left with a quandary. Do I make the attempt while I still have access to her? Or do I let regrets still stay regrets? Can I handle the pain of coming close to someone and then having them leave? Part of my pain last night was tiredness. I am tired of making friends and having us part ways, for whatever reason. For a few moments last night I wanted to climb into a barrel and wake up 20 years from now so I could avoid the pain of loving people, and so I could avoid the pain of living. For a few horrible minutes I wondered if I could do it again. I wondered if I could love people and then leave them. I wondered if I could force myself to move again when the time came to buy a house. My spirit shrank from the future, from this neighbor moving to our moving to death (something I have not had touch me fully yet).

I couldn't do it. I can't do it.

Today I am a little better. I'm still hurting but I'm letting the future happen when it does. I still haven't decided whether to try and befriend this woman or not, but I did let my daughter go over there for a little while last night, knowing that those minutes are now numbered. I also owe the threesome matching skirts. I've been putting them off, but I'll make sure they get done now. I'm not missing that opportunity at least.
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7 Responses
  1. Elaine Says:

    :( Sorry Dedee. I'm glad to have caught you over here...I've been missing you.

  2. Kimberly Says:

    Oh honey, missed opportunities really do hurt, don't they? And no matter how fully we live our lives, they'll always be there, I think. But we can take moments like these and turn them into fuller, happier lives. Your so clever to be recognizing that and doing something about it./

  3. I love the honesty of this post. We all do this, but not many can articulate it the way that you did.
    Hurting for your kids just plain stinks. And knowing you may have missed out on an opportunity for real friendship stinks too.
    I suppose life is harder when we take risks, but maybe the painful times are worth it. Those painful times wouldn't exist if our lives were empty.

  4. Brillig Says:

    Sigh. It's so sad (but beautifully written!)

  5. charrette Says:

    You know, some of my dearest and strongest friendships were instigated by somebody LEAVING. And they've lasted for years and years. This might be a wake-up call that this is someone you're destined to stay connected to. I say go for it. Don't live with regrets.

    Thank you for sharing such honest, heart-felt thoughts and raw emotion with us. I love the line about crying "over a friendship I don't have". Poignant.

  6. Luv2run Says:

    Hello!!! You might regret it in the future if you don't take the opportunity now. How the market is going now chances are they won't be able to sell it.

  7. EEEEMommy Says:

    I resonate so much with this post. When we were first married, we lived in a Navy community for 5 1/2 years. I can not tell you how much I hated being left behind time and time again! It was hard to develop friendships with people that you know would be leaving you so soon! But I learned so much from those women who are continually uprooted and always starting over. They don't waste time. They recognize how much they need friendships, and they start making friends as soon as they enter the community. One of the best friends I've ever had in my entire life was a girl who only lived near me for 8 months. She had just left behind some dear friends and could easily have shielded herself from becoming attached rather than have to face another tough goodbye so soon. How blessed I was that she didn't!
    Since that time, I have been the one to do the leaving and after so many years of goodbyes, I feel like there are pieces of my heart all over the country. It's hard sometimes, but I am comforted by the hope of heaven. Because most of my closest friends are believers, I have the promise of eternity with them. I think it's going to be fabulous!! I've felt the same feeling of sorrow over a friendship that I wished I could have had with someone. That sorrow is disipated at the thought of the eternity that I have with those dear people!
    I've written you a novel already and I still have so many more thoughts running through my head. This was such a coffee-talk kind of post. The kind of post that makes me wish we could have a face to face conversation!
    Go make those skirts, and invite that woman over for coffee! She may need a friend right now!