We knew but today has always seemed so far away. Our sons would be juniors in high school by then, we told each other in shocked tones. Because they were ten at the time, that idea was the same as saying we'd live on the moon by then. The same as saying it could never happen.
Today, she moves to Utah. When we said good bye, she gave us a family portait. I put it on the side of my refrigerator with all the other family pictures of friends who don't live near us. It's the same side of the fridge that faces the counter where I make the kids' lunches during the school year. I look at those pictures every morning and hope they're all doing well. Sometimes I pray for them. And I wonder how long it'll be before I see them all again.
When I was a kid, I could make friends as easily as sneezing. My youngest does that now - we arrive at a park and twenty minutes later, he's best friends forever with a kid whose name he doesn't know. Nowadays, it takes me a bit longer. My life is packed with kids, house, job, writing. Nowadays, my friends tend to be the moms of my kids' friends. Our only area in common is our kids. But for now, that's enough. I simply don't have time for more.
Someday, I know that'll change. And that's why I keep those photos on my fridge. Because when it changes for me, it'll change for all my faraway buddies, too. We'll suddenly have all this free time (and money!) to go see each other. To shake our heads at each other's pictures of our enormous grown up children, to complain about our husbands, about the weather. To go on trips together, volunteer together, organize our schedules without worrying about a son/daughter's naptime/pickup time/doctor app't., etc.
When the idea of my oldest (the junior in high school!) leaving home makes me want to burst into fits of copious weeping, I try to remember this. Someday I won't have to cram writing in between ten minute breaks of eating/cleaning/shuttling kids. Someday I'll be able to catch up with everyone in those photos on my fridge. Someday I'll be published, be an established author, make money doing what I love.
I think about these 'somedays' in the same tone my friend and I used to talk about her departure six years ago. In that incredulous, slightly disbelieving voice I'd use to say we'll be living on the moon by then. The same as saying it could never happen.
But it can. It will. Ready or not, what you sow, you reap in due time - whether it's children who grow up, writing a good book or being a good friend.
|At the cabin in Valdez, our last trip together|