Des was born to “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead. It’s one of my lifelong anthems. They played it during the encore of their last show ever (in theory) last night at Soldier Field. They played “Scarlet Begonias” (a Scarlet song) and “Fire on the Mountain” (a Des song because his middle name is Blaze) on Friday night. Last night they played “Cassidy” & “Touch of Grey”.
I found myself feeling very moody and broody yesterday. I’ve talked a lot in the past about my Beyond Birth group of friends – the women I sat with weekly at our hospital postpartum group from when our babies were born until they were four-months-old. Since we’re talking about a range of four months here, we all dropped in and out of baby groups and hearts (although mostly in, where hearts are concerned) and then we made our own baby group, and then we made groups of groups. We paired off. Some of us went to work. Some moved away. Some weren’t very close anyway. Six years ago, nearly to the day, I joined the ranks of motherhood and I found myself so utterly lost and so utterly found within a group of local women.
So much has changed, and the tightness of the original grip loosened in some ways, and grew stronger in others. So much has changed for all. For me, my anxiety was manageable for 33 years, and then got a bit unmanageable and then got manageable again. I went through about 17 jobs, then a second pregnancy and birth, and then some more jobs – before settling a bit comfortably in my work now. There was finding playgroup friends and preschool friends and daycare friends and kindergarten friends. There was finding blogging friends. That’s big. That’s you, isn’t it? This is all rather big, just how I like it.
I am forever intimidated and inspired by friendship. It’s the most fascinating relationship to me. You fall in love with your friends, but it’s not romantic love. (I think?) You choose to share your hearts and thoughts with people who aren’t your family, but they become your family. Like I said, fascinating and baffling. With staying power. It all rushes back, doesn’t it?
Yesterday, I found us all together again, but not necessarily for a happy reason. It’s because one of our own is moving to Austin, Texas. So I sat there at the party and I saw all my beautiful friends and I thought about Cassidy on his Chicago, Fare Thee Well adventure, and I thought about my friends on their Austin adventure. Then I wondered about my own adventure – who, what, where, when, how it will be. I felt overjoyed and destroyed at the passage of time and the connections we make.
You don’t feel lost if you don’t feel love. They are partners in that way. And even if my friends never move back here, to this wonderful place, I know I will see them on the other side, and I know they’ll come back here for Thanksgiving someday. Soon.
I’m so heart-crushed and so bewilderingly inspired that we could all find ourselves together again at this beautiful picnic, a little more battered than ever before, or a little more bolstered. Maybe in my case, it’s both. I love you guys.
These seems like the perfect introduction to participate in this week’s Tuesday Ten – Ten Things I Love About Where I Live. Of course, that could be a whole other post (or three) so I’ll simplify the beautifully complex as best as I can.
1. Food. Organic and local – and however you want it. Gluten-free, vegan or macrobiotic? Sure thing, if that’s your bag. 17,000 homemade ice cream parlors within a ten mile radius? Yes. That’s my bag. If you turn left out of my driveway, you arrive in a thriving small city and you may or may not have to wait for your brunch, but it will be worth it. If you turn right out of my driveway, you find my favorite farm restaurant or even a sugar shack in the woods.
2. Folks. I’ve met some incredible friends. I could probably do that everywhere, but these are my people. Sarcastic and kind, or just kind. Most of us are politically on the same page, and we look out for each other too, especially during winter.
3. Fun. Well I had to go food, folks and fun there, didn’t I? Fun is.. everywhere. Mountain tops and forest parks. Mini zoos and mini golf. Six Flags and Yankee Candle – if big tourist attractions are your bag, baby. And they’re mine, sometimes. I’m an ambivert. I could go left or right out my driveway. I seek both adventure and solitude. There’s something for everyone!
4. There are moose here. I have never seen one here, but there are moose here.
5. Downtown Northampton. That was Scarlet’s suggestion, but I love it too. The food, folks, and fun. The rainbow crosswalk.
6. Did I mention our town has its own Pride Parade? I’ve been to one in San Francisco and one in NYC. Ours holds up to those.
7. October. Just October. And all of the many places I do photography jobs. This place is gorgeous.
8. The celebratory nature of Northampton. It’s a place of tourism, which feels so alive. People travel here from all over.
9. It wasn’t a terrible transition to move from San Francisco to Northampton. It was just about right.
10. It’s an incredible place to raise kids. It celebrates life, love, diversity, nature and rainbow cookies.
**This post has been sponsored by LOVE, friendship, Northampton (although not formerly), and all of the places to love. I haven’t been compensated for this post, unless you count nearly six years of awesomeness, rainbows, cookies and friendship.