My next door neighbors are moving today. The city is tearing down their house to build a train underpass, so soon my house will be the one on the corner.
About 8 years ago he had a stroke, and that was the beginning of our friendship with them. We saw the ambulance take him away, and she told us what happened. In the following months we helped them what little we could, as we had a baby and were struggling financially ourselves. But a unique and unexpected friendship developed out of it, which I will forever treasure.
When I first heard that they would be moving, about a year ago, I was secretly kind of happy about it because of their 9 cats that poop in my yard. She really IS the crazy cat lady.
But over the years we’ve gotten to know them pretty well, and now that moving day is here I feel sad.
I’ll miss the over-the-fence chats with her and the times she would come to sit in my yard and keep me company, or help me weed my garden because I can never keep up with it.
I’ll miss the way he helped me go after our 2-year-old pain-in-the-arse Beagle when she runs away (which is pretty much every day). For some reason she’ll go to him.
I’ll miss the way he always watches out his window when we get in the car and drive away. We always laugh and call him a “creeper,” but in a funny way.
I’ll miss the way he’s always the first busybody outside to see what’s going on whenever a police car or fire truck go roaring down our street.
I’ll miss the way they always give us their food bank leftovers, like random boxes of granola bars they didn’t like, or duck eggs.
It will feel kind of lonely without any neighbors on that side, no one to share the neighborhood gossip with or to watch my kids for me while I run inside to pee or check on something in the oven.
I’ll miss her voice yelling at him, and his old man voice antagonizing her. Yep, even that, I will. They’re such a funny, crotchety old couple who always fight, but yet they’re both really good-natured and friendly people. I sure won’t miss the cats though.
Last week I had to have a heart to heart talk with my 8-year-old daughter about friends who come and go. Some of her best friends from Kindergarten have moved away, and she goes to a different school now too, and it just gets hard to maintain friendships with people you don’t see on a regular basis. And that’s just life. I told her about how when I was in high school and college I worked at camp every summer, and made some of the best friends of my life. Back then we didn’t have Facebook to keep in touch with every person we’d ever met, so some of us wrote letters (yep, I’m that old). Some friends would return the following summer and the friendships would pick up right where they left off. And some of those friendships just fizzled out. Which at first, could be very painful. I would become so close and emotionally attached to a person for a few short months, and then never see him or her again. But after a while I kind of got used to that. It’s a tough balancing act when meeting new friends. Opening yourself up to connection, but at the same time knowing that the person might eventually walk out of your life forever. People move and change and grow up and get married, and that’s just how life is. You can choose to either make the most of a friendship while you have it, or to put walls up, never letting anybody too close for fear that they’ll someday leave.
I think life is so much richer and more fulfilling when you just embrace what you have when you have it, even if it means the potential for pain down the road. I have had so many friendships in my life that I am so thankful for. Friendships that met particular needs in my life at that time. Life is so much better with good friends, and it would be a shame to avoid them for fear of the pain of losing them.