I met Gina almost 14 years ago. She came to my door, her baby tied to her chest, and invited me to a mom’s group she was starting at her house. She lived just down the block from me. We’ve been friends ever since.
When our children were small, we were stay-at-home moms or part-time, home based business moms. There was a group of us then. We would meet daily in the park, weekly at each other’s houses. We watched each other’s children. We compared parenting notes. We were friends, and we were work colleagues in motherhood.
People came and went from our mom’s group over the years. They moved in and out of the neighborhood, but there was always three of us – the core. Gina and I, and also, Laurie. Our older children were all born 2 weeks apart. The younger kids all bonded with each other despite age and gender differences. We raised our kids in a pile for awhile.
Then the kids grew older. They started attending different schools and made their own friends.The moms all went back to work. We saw each other less often, traveled in different circles beyond the confines of our neighborhood. But we were still friends, still colleagues in motherhood, still neighbors. The core remained until this weekend.
Gina has moved out of her small house. She’s left the neighborhood for a better one with a bigger house. She’s not far. We’re still friends, still colleagues in motherhood, but no longer neighbors.
It’s a weird feeling after 14 years, and it makes me want to go, too.
I am not attached to this neighborhood. I have a difficult relationship with it. We moved into this house, IT Guy and I, as a young married couple, 16 years ago. This was our starter house. We hadn’t checked out the schools. We didn’t consider what the neighborhood would be like for raising children. Those things seemed so far in the future. We wouldn’t still be here then.
Except we would. We are. 16 years later, after a failed business and a failed economy, we’re still here. We’ve raised our children here, despite less than ideal schools and, often, less than ideal neighbors. Our kids know no other home. When we walk the dog through our neighborhood of small, brick, post World War II, cape cods, colonials and ranch houses, we walk the same routes we walked pushing strollers, pulling wagons, and steadying bikes on training wheels.
Those memories are sweet. I can see how my babies have grown by measuring them against the same backdrops every day of their lives. The passage of time disappears as we walk the same sidewalks and same streets, our footsteps wearing an invisible path in the asphalt.
But it’s time. It’s been time for several years. Time to move. Time to find a space where I feel connected to the ground beneath my feet. Time to find a space where my children can become adults. We’ve outgrown this space and this place. It’s time to go.
When I watched Gina emptying her house today, I wasn’t sad that she was moving on. It is the way of things, after all, and it is long past time. She is moving to a bigger house in a safer and quieter neighborhood with a garage and walk-in closets. She is moving on to her next phase.
I am not sad; I’m jealous. I’d follow her out tomorrow if I could. We don’t have the financial means to do it now, but I am watching and waiting. It will be our turn eventually, our turn to find the right place to be home.