It was a rough day. Not because the kids were driving me crazy, and not because I ate some questionable liver the night before (it tasted excellent going down!). It was the day our best friends moved to a different continent. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. We had seen this move coming for quite some time, so you’d think I would have been prepared for this big day — but not so much.
7 years ago.
I was newly married and had just started working at an in-home daycare. It was my first job outside of fashion, but I thought I’d give it a shot since I’ve always liked kids. It was a pretty good gig. One of the kids was three month old, Dahlia. Her mom Emily was pretty cool; I even friended her on Facebook. I’d send her pictures during the day — which was actually a much bigger deal then than it is now! We started going to each other’s houses for Shabbos lunch and then spent Purim together. We totally bonded. She was one of the first few people I told I was pregnant with Annie. And the fun hadn’t even started yet!
When Annie was born, she came home from the hospital on Craig’s birthday. Emily and Dahlia came over to our house with a Happy Birthdays! cake for the two of them. We started going on dates to Starbucks every Friday morning. When Annie was three months old, Emily gave birth to their second daughter, Zoe. We visited her in the hospital, obviously bearing the largest cup of frozen yogurt ever. We continued with our Friday morning coffees and added trips to the playground. This standing date went on for a few years. And in school, Annie and Zoe were in the same class and they were besties.
We started doing Sundays together — that’s a big deal, since it meant that the mommies and daddies and kids all had to get along nicely. Holidays were often spent together, as were afternoons after school. It was during the polar vortex of 2014 (remember that one?) when Emily and I discovered that we were food soulmates. Rarely a day passed without us talking or seeing each other.
Which brings us back to today, seven kids, seven years later. After the movers came to get their stuff we had a big family sleepover. I wish we would had thought of that sooner! Up until today I’ve kept my cool. We stood there as they loaded the taxis, said our goodbyes and watched them ride off to the airport. And then they were gone.
We started walking up the block. Annie started telling random people we bumped into that her friends just moved. I’m thinking Wait, so did mine. And then I lost it. I started crying and couldn’t stop. All this time I thought I was dead inside yet here I was, ugly-crying in the middle of the street. We went to the park and I sat down on a empty bench. I watched the kids play and fed New Baby. The bench stayed empty the whole time. I guess no one wants to sit near weepy mom. (Fine, I’m being a little dramatic; no one sat there because all of our crap was on it.)
I may have spent the night crying.
The next day I packed everyone up and went to a playground downtown that we hadn’t been to in about a year. The kids loved it — they played with each other and made some new friends. We stayed for about five hours and getting out of there may have involved a spirited game of chase-Judah-around-the-sandbox-then-physically-remove-him-and-place-him-in-the-stroller. It was a good day. When we came home that evening my phone started buzzing. It was a FaceTime from Emily and the gang! Everyone was so excited! I do wish the kids didn’t hog the phone so much, as it would’ve been nice to talk to Emily. Still, I was in the other room dumping sand out from under the stroller while listening to all the kids talking and it just made me so happy. These little phone dates are becoming a regular thing. This is going to work.
And if one Friday morning you see me at a coffee shop with an empty seat for my phone so I can pretend E is actually there with me, well, don’t mind us…