Today some friends of ours packed up and moved to Maryland. This was Simon's best friend in the world, a little girl named Aneliese. They were absolutely crazy about each other. When Annie came over I always had to try to hold Simon inside our apartment with one hand while opening the door with the other. I usually failed and what followed was a 30 second scream fest in the landing. I'm sure our neighbors loved it. Even though part of me was dismayed at the noise I was inflicting upon the rest of the building's residents, these cacophonous greetings also warmed my heart. Can you imagine being SOOOOO EXCITED to see your friend that you cannot contain yourself? Jumping up and down is not enough to express your joy. Clapping hands won't quite cut it. High-pitched screams are not sufficient on their own. You must do all these things simultaneously to demonstrate just how happy you are to see this person.
I don't know if I'll ever witness one of those greetings again. It may be a couple years before we are able to travel out east for a visit. Annie and Simon will have changed so much by then. Will they remember each other? Will they want to play together at all? In the meantime, I am wondering how long it will take for Simon to understand that Annie isn't around anymore. Currently he asks about her at least twice a day. "See Annie?" "Go to Annie's house?" Even if I say no, he can comfort himself by saying "See Annie to-later." Until now, "to-later" has never meant more than a few days. So I wonder if he'll catch on that this "to-later" is of a different, much longer variety. Perhaps the baby's arrival will take his mind off the departure of his friend. Perhaps it will amplify his loss.
Simon wasn't the only one whose friend moved. I don't have many mommy friends, partly because I entered motherhood much earlier than most of my peers, and partly because I don't put myself out there in the mommy circles (ie playgroups or Gymboree classes). Karen was a great mom friend to have. Laid back, understanding of my child's sometimes erratic behavior, willing to admit her shortcomings and listen to mine. Despite her being nearly 20 years my senior, our kids were often going through the same stages. You know, I'd like to modify my previous statement about not putting myself out there in the mommy world. That's not exactly true. We have belonged to two different playgroups, but I just never clicked with the moms we met there. Karen and I really connected, and I will miss her. I am thankful for email because God knows we'd lose touch if I had to sit down and pen a real letter.
So, a fond farewell to our friends. Those Marylanders had better treat you well. Even if it takes us a few years, rest assured, we will definitely see you to-later.