Remember that feeling as a kid, when you stood at the end of your driveway and watched a moving truck load up you best friend and her family and drive her away? Remember standing there, stuck, realizing you’d been left behind?
I don’t. It’s one of those childhood maladies I managed to avoid.
Remember when you were a grown up and your best friend called to tell you she was moving and you felt like a 7-year-old girl, standing on your driveway watching moving trucks pull away with boxes and belongings and pieces of your heart?
That, I do remember. Like it was yesterday.
Or 16 years ago. Or last week. Or both.
I can still remember exactly where I was standing when I got the phone call from Susie telling me that they bought a house and were moving. Halfway across the country, to Texas. And she was thrilled and excited. I nearly cut off the circulation to my fingers as I twisted them anxiously in the curled phone cord. I remember trying to catch my breath and steady my voice while fiercely trying to blink away stinging tears.
I remember hanging up the phone and looking at a newborn Jake and wondering how I would manage this parenting thing without her. I had always envisioned our kids growing up together. What about all the get-togethers, birthdays, celebrations, and milestones? What about our impromptu dinners and backyard barbecues. No more dropping by with a pie.
I think about it now and while that transition was difficult, it was all part of God’s plan. Texas is their home and where they have put down roots and raised a beautiful family. It’s where they belong. It truly makes me happy knowing they are where they are supposed to be and I wouldn’t want anything else for them.
And Perhaps it took all that distance to make the bonds we share grow into something closer to family than friendship. We still share a brain. And a heart. And an odd love for Mondays. And though halfway across the country, we do indeed parent side by side – on good days and on bad. And while I wish I could snap my fingers and come over for dinner, showing up with a pie, the once or twice a year we get to see each other and share carrot cake sustains my soul.
Fast forward a few years and we were the ones to pack up and move away. All the way across the country, far from home. But once here, God put in my path another sister who would share my backyard for 14 years. Kara showed up on my doorstep with a blueberry cake and two babies in a stroller one steamy July morning. She welcomed me to the neighborhood and told me she was there, right in the backyard, if I needed anything. Anything at all.
Little did I know how much I needed all the blessings her friendship has given me over the years.
The moving truck came to move her family to a new house across town last week. She is only a zip code away but it feels much farther than that right now. I have to turn away from the dark windows of her empty house, the void still too fresh. I know that this move is the best thing for her family. I am thrilled for them and the new memories yet to be made in their new home. It too, is where they belong and where they are meant to be. And I am incredibly happy for them.
Change is never easy. Nor is letting go. But, as always, there are silver linings to be found. Having two of my dearest friends move on only left me behind to realize the extraordinary gift and blessing of having them in my path in the first place. And certainly part of loving someone is wanting the best for them, even if it takes them away from you.
It may take me a while yet to look at Kara’s house and its dark windows without having to turn away. And for just a little bit I will be the brooding seven-year old girl standing on the driveway.
But pretty soon it won’t sting quite so much.
And I will once again remember that there is joy in letting go.