It was a rare dinner out for two stay-at-home moms – we sat at a tiny table in King Cat Café, enjoying Cajun food like it was our last meal.
We were most of the way through dinner when Tina set down her fork and broke the news.
“It’s only for six months,” she tried to assure me, as tears sprang to my eyes.
Her husband was taking a job 2,500 miles away. She was leaving. She was leaving Seattle, her home, her friends, her industry connections. She was leaving me. Only six months? Even then, I wasn’t buying it. I felt six years old.
It was going to be forever.
We met when our children – born five days apart – were toddlers. They were hardly more than babies, really – and we had talked every day since.
Sometimes we greeted each other on the phone with something as simple as, “What are you making for dinner?” or, “You won’t believe what (insert child’s name) just did.”
Others times, we explored schooling options, health care choices, our roles as women and mothers, and the pros and cons of siblings vs. single children – ideas topical to our lives. Still other times, we debated politics, religion, tax law, gun control, and how to keep our brains from turning to mush. We mixed philosophy with the mundane, celebration with chagrin.
There was hardly a part of our lives we did not share – or share an opinion on.
Friends leave – they move away for work or families, they drift apart, sometimes they argue, sometimes they die. It’s part of life. We had each experienced it before – Seattle wasn’t originally home for either of us.
But damn, the leaving is hard.
If you are lucky, you get to keep your friends. They live in your heart, in your memories. And if you are very lucky, you get to stay in touch. You get to follow each other’s growth. You get to be there for each other, to be those golden old friends that we treasure.
Tina and I are those friends to each other. It’s not always been easy – sometimes we have gone all mother-tiger on each other; sometimes we have been insensitive.
She did not move back to Seattle, not in six months, not in six years. She’s still there.
But we have always come back to each other. We visit. We call and email. We might even get around to using Skype one of these days.
Today, I am reminded of Brené’s TGIF. And after a long (you don’t even want to know how long) catching-up conversation with my Tina,
I trust: the bonds of our friendship, that we will always be there for each other, that we will be old ladies together
I am grateful: that friendship carries us through ALL of life’s ups and downs, for the gift of knowing and acceptance, for the mirror a good friend holds up
I am inspired: by Tina’s ability to reinvent her life in the face of immense changes, her nonchalant ability to do things I’ve never imagined doing (including re-wiring a lamp many lamps lamps and sockets and switches), and her recently completed college degree
listening to: Patty Loveless, How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye