Yesterday a dear friend moved away, and not just any friend. An Auerbachian. (Doesn't she look radiant, pictured above with Madelyn?) For several years now, you all have had to listen to me rave about our amazing neighborhood and community. You've heard the tales of all the incredible, impossible, silly, mundane, simple, and gutsy things we have done and endured together. Well now, after all we have weathered together, we must learn to weather something new: not being together. Auntie Jess and her wonderful family have moved away.
Already I have had to try to explain to Jillson--while only crying a little--why she can't play with Marion this afternoon. Or tomorrow. I've had to say I don't KNOW when they can next play together. And Jillson says "'Sokay, Mommy, 'sokay. Marion will come back. She will, she will." And then forget about only crying a little. I cry like a fool.
It is so strange to see the empty driveway and the empty house. It's strange to have one less phone call to make when making plans for the day. Strange to have one less black and tan heiny bopping down the dogwalk route with us. Stranger still to have one less cup of coffee to pour. (Or should those all say "one fewer?" See? I am so forlorn I can't even correct my own grammar.)
I'm trying not to bum out, even though the top half of this post makes it sound otherwise. Rest assured. I'm doing what the Gutsy Mom does best: I'm cranking up the tunes and singing my guts out so I don't feel too sorry for myself. In fact, I am feeling supremely blessed because I know friends like this don't come along every day. This is a joyful thing. Yes, I sat down to write a happy post--ha ha!--all about my awesome friend, Jess, so that when she logged back onto her computer in the States she could read something wonderful and happy. So here we go.
When I was in middle school I babysat a three-year-old girl named Perri Trethaway. She was smart and sweet and a little bit stubborn and sometimes quiet. (Come to think of it, that sounds just like Jess!) But I digress. Here's what Perri would say to her parents when they would leave the house: "Don't go away far! You're right in my heart!" And so that is how it will be for us Auerbachians. We will carry each other in our hearts--even as we scatter ourselves across the globe--forever Auerbachian! (Hey, I said I was going to be happy, I made no promises about not being cheesy.)
So as I carry Jess and her family in my heart, I am going to make this vow. I am going to be more like Jess. I am going to be more compassionate, more reliable, more calm, and a better gardener. Sometimes, I will even be quiet. I am going to pay better attention to my dogs. I am going to cut back on those artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I will fantasize about the best damn eggnog I've ever had. (I won't attempt to make it; Jess's eggnog is so outrageously good that I know better than to try. She has mad eggnog skills, I tell you.) And of course there will be margaritas. And coffee. And dogwalks. And a new definition of long-distance running. (I'll run here while you run there.) And there will also be the long-distance admiration of each other's children.
There will be, ultimately, the planning of ARG Reunion 2010. Children, husbands, and pets included, for they are all friends, too.
But until then, Jess, wherever we all may be, remember this:
My keys are forever in the door for you; Cafe Gutsy is always open.