Friday, August 27, 2010

Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

Yeah, it's been awhile.

Nobody needs to get excited that I'm up and blogging again. I'm making no promises. But I have some things rattling around in my head that I want to get down.

Life has a way of jerking you around. You think things are how you want them, and suddenly they change. I hate change. And yet it seems to be the one thing in life I can always count on.

I am reeling today from two recent changes in my life.

First, my BFF of two years moved away a couple of weeks ago, taken 3 hours away by her husband's new job. It's a really great opportunity for their family: Better pay and benefits, shorter commute, solid company that values its employees, opportunity for promotion-- really a no-brainer. I was as supportive as I knew how to be. I was heavily involved in the process of packing and moving. I tried to do whatever I could to smooth the incredibly stressful process of moving a family of seven, like a good friend should. I'm thrilled for them, truly I am. But I am also totally and completely left behind, and feeling somewhat sorry for myself about that.

Desolate is the word that comes to mind.

And while it's true that I have more time for my own projects now, and I'm keeping up on the housework better than I did for the last month (which surely pleases my husband), I miss her terribly. I spent the last two plus years spending at least part of almost every weekday with this chick, and that will never happen again. I feel like someone died. And even though I can still talk to her on the phone and go to visit from time to time, it will never be the same again. And that makes me very sad.

Did I mention I hate change?

Second, my oldest daughter went to college this week. I helped her move her things to her apartment on Wednesday. I have felt oddly unemotional about the whole thing, and have wondered how I could be so untouched by this huge event. Perhaps I've been so preoccupied with the First big change (see above), that I didn't really give much attention to this other thing I hate but can't control.

It was our idea, my husband's and mine, for her to move out for college, even though the school is only 10 miles to the north of us. We believe that children are meant to grow up and live their own lives someday - and we've based our whole philosophy of parenting on the principle of independence. We wanted her to have the full college experience, and believed that is hard to do when a student commutes from home. She's learned as much as she can while living at home, and it's time for the next stage of her growth living independently, or as much as one can be independent when mom and dad are paying for room and board, anyway.

The move went well, and our goodbye was tear-free. I actually haven't spoken to her since then, although my husband has. I think about her several times every day, wondering what she's doing and hoping that she's enjoying her new life.

And then this afternoon I was planning what to fix for dinner tonight, and my mind automatically calculated what quantity of food to prepare based on who would be in attendance. And then it hit me: she won't be here tonight, and will never eat dinner here on a regular basis again. And suddenly her move became real, and those oddly absent emotions rose up without warning and made my eyes sweat a little. I felt a little silly that my grief took two whole days to surface. My friend apparently thought so too, judging by the chortling that came over the phone line when I shared my quasi-epiphany with her.

And now I'm sitting here thinking of all the things we didn't do before she left, and wishing I had paid more attention and planned better for her exodus. My bad. My loss.

Please Lord, no more changes this month.