Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Parting Ways

It all started with an oversize pot roast. You see, I usually buy them on sale, cut them into appropriate sizes and freeze them for later. This time, however, I apparently did not cut it to size.

I could have decided to wait until we had planned guests, but I didn't. I decided to throw it in the crock pot and just have leftovers.

At this time I belonged to a Mom's Time Out group. One of the other moms had a son almost exactly six months older than Squiggle. So we naturally gravitated toward each other to discuss our children. Now I don't remember what we were doing, maybe it was MTO, maybe it was something else, but we were both at church and it was approaching dinner. When the subject came up, she mentioned that she had to figure out what to make. So, breaking my own rule about not inviting people over without spouse-checking it first, I invited her to dinner. Once we cleared it with my husband she agreed.

A year and a half later Squiggle and I both have a best friend. Serendipitously, they are mother and son. That means I don't have to endure someone I don't particularly care for because my daughter loves her kid, and she doesn't sit around bored because my "bestie" has no one for her to play with.

Squiggle and Big Jake get along great. They love each other. Sure, they fight 70% of the time they are together, but when they are apart they won't stop asking for each other. (At least Squiggle always asks for him and Miss Terri reports similar behavior on her end.)

Both are energetic, boisterous toddlers. The term roughhousing may have been invented to describe them. Evenly matched, we don't have to hover to ensure the weaker one isn't damaged somehow. They are able to play with and alongside each other.

Sadly Terri has been without work for quite a while and her unemployment is running out. So she and Big Jake will be leaving today for northern California. As we currently live in southern Nevada, there is a good chance we will not be seeing each other again. Of course we claim otherwise, but the reality is that neither of our families has much money, we both have young children and long vacations are not often undertaken. Even if we did, the children are young and will forget each other in time.

I am losing my best friend. But we will be able to keep in touch. The Internet has given us that ability. It will not be the same and I am sad for myself. But I am even sadder for my daughter. She is losing an incredible friendship. It is deeper than most toddlers reach. It is almost sibling-like in its intensity. She asks where he is when he isn't around. The coming days will be very difficult as we struggle to explain that Big Jake isn't coming back. People have pointed out to me that she will forget and move on. But, for me, that is worse. She has an amazing connection with another human being, and she won't even remember it. She'll never know what she lost. Which means she won't remember what she had. 

If they continued to grow up together their friendship would likely have been life-long. It may have even blossomed into more. Now the chances are that she will wonder who that boy in the video that she is having so much fun even is.

I hope that isn't the case. I would love to be able to keep in touch in a way that preserves all the friendships involved. But history just isn't on our side. People are very adaptable. That is a good thing. It allows us to survive. But it also means that we let go. We move on. We may never recapture what we had with another person. We may say we will never forget. But, inevitably, we do. It's our nature.

I may make more friends. It isn't a forte of mine, and the odds are against me being as close to another friend, but I suppose it's possible. I will "keep in touch" with Terri. But it won't be like it was or could have been. Squiggle will make more friends. She will most likely not "keep in touch" with Big Jake except through me.

The bottom line is, we are losing something rare and precious. It took me 33 years to find a friend like this. Squiggle did it in 1.5. I hope it doesn't take us another 33 year to forge another.

As I sit here and watch Squiggle play with her best friend, Big Jake, for the last time I pray that both of our families find good fortune. Theirs as they leave, and ours as we stay.