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Poor Bereft Me

In October of 1996 I had been on a mission for 2 months. A new set of missionaries arrived, and my group suddenly wasn't the youngest anymore. And we loved the group of girls who removed us from that lowly state by taking it over.

There was one girl in the class that I liked pretty immediately. I don't even remember our first encounter(s) but I remember always thinking she was pretty cool.

Then one day she said to me, "I think you were in my freshman Spanish class in college." And it turned out, I was. I stand out in crowds. I make people stop and notice. My Spanish-speaking skills are superb.

We became fast friends and we spent the duration of our missions together with a lot of highs and lows. A lot. And then we went our separate ways. She married soon after the mission and I showed up to her very classy and nice reception dinner, late, carrying a laundry basket with a mop and broom sticking out of it, surrounded by several other cleaning supplies. It was incredibly tacky, but she still smiled and greeted me, and we stayed friends. :)

She started the whole married and children thing long before me, but we kept in touch over the years. She was full of spit and vinegar and had a way of saying things as they were, in a way I was always envious. Spit and vinegar isn't bad, right? I mean, I think Avery's full of it and I'm her mother.

So, a year and a half ago when Jay found out he was getting the job here in Texas, I emailed and then called my friend to see just how far she was from the "Dallas Area". I knew that they had not so long ago bought a house in Tyler, and I was just hopeful that Tyler was within a couple of hours of where we were going to move.

Talk about joy of all joys when I learned that because of a sudden job change, THEY had moved to Plano, just a few months before. And they were living in an apartment, something we had planned to do while Jay was in this stage of his career, traveling all the time.

Jay was flying to Texas the next day or so to look for housing and I told him he had to check out at least 5-7 apartments before looking at the one Amy lived in because I knew I couldn't be unbiased enough to not want to live there, no matter the cost or convenience. He did just that, and was immediately most impressed with where Amy lived. So we moved in. Our doors are a football field length from each other. When Jay described it to me over the phone, I expressed dissatisfaction that it wasn't next door, with a suite-like door between our homes, so we could live more communally. Or something. I remember actually being disappointed it wasn't closer. I'm really good at finding even the greatest of circumstances disappointing.

Well, we've lived near each other since the first of January, 2006. It has been heaven. I have dumped my kids on her at times because I'm afraid I might hurt them. I've gone over to her house at dinner time and sat at the table and watched them eat, just for the company, and they've never made me feel like an intruder. Even though I was. I've spent countless hours on their gigantic bean bag (I'm sure it has a better name than that, I just don't know...) saying over and over without meaning it "Well, I really should go now."
I've borrowed eggs, flour, nutmeg, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, dozens of cups of milk, butter, salsa, salad dressing, freshly made chocolate chip cookies, water, and at least a dozen other random things. The best part was I could send Ben over, sometimes just in his skivvies and I wouldn't have to leave my very important task of burning or completely screwing up dinner.

She would come over and hang out with me for an hour or two in the morning and give my life some semblance of sanity with adult conversation. She never once made me feel like the slob I am with laundry strewn all across my living room, a weeks worth of dishes on the table and kitchen counters, and magic marker masterpieces on my carpet.

She's taught me the therapeutic powers of late-night Target runs or getting away just for some frozen custard or Chili's dessert.

She's calmed my parenting concerns with having "been there and done that" with two very active boys.

I don't have to put on airs with her. Ever. She can see me in the completely disgusting state I often let myself get into with no husband to answer to during the week, and I never feel self-conscious. Don't get me wrong, Amy's not all fluffy and sweet like I may be making her look, but she isn't critical or judgmental. She'll be the first to compliment my snot-stained shirt or nappy hair. But some things just can't be ignored. I understand that.

Oh, and since I'm being honest---another really annoying thing about her is she doesn't gossip. Try as I may to get her to, she won't. It's really annoying. Trust me. In my defense, I don't repeat gossip. I only say it once.

Avery adores her. Ben does too, but in a different, boy kind of way. Avery thinks she's her mom. The first year we were here, Avery basically preferred Amy to me. I was usually okay with it because then it was Amy's knees she was clinging to while Amy prepared dinner. I had no problem sitting on the gigantic bean bag watching it all.

Well, Amy bought a house. A friggin beautiful, completely enviable, with a backyard and bonus room---house. You may or may not recall a post I did last July on feeling jealous. I'm not easily prone to it, but Amy was the subject of my feeling it then, and it's happened again. In combination with feeling very happy for the house they scored, I'm immensely jealous. It's the kind of house I could live in for the rest of my life. But I wasn't invited.

Most of the details of buying and negotiating and closing and all the stuff that goes with buying a house, happened as I was preparing for our trip to the Carolinas and then while were gone. It made it less threatening that I had something else going on to focus on.

Then Thursday they closed.
And Friday they moved.
And this morning when I woke up, I realized that there was no chance of her two little guys knocking on my door in pajamas to borrow some eggs. Or cheese. Or each holding the ends of a cookie sheet so that they could BOTH return it to me. Or knocking on my door to return Avery in her pajamas. She's always trying to bust out of here.

And today when I woke up from my Sunday nap, I felt so sad for the loss of that proximity. I actually thought I'd escape feeling sad. She's only moved a mile away. But that's a mile I can't send Ben in his underwear, and a mile that Avery, even on her best day, can't navigate safely.

I'm glad for the year and 3 and a half months I had. It really was heaven, and a huge blessing with this "single-parenting" stage of my life. And, on the upside, now when I go to Walmart on Sunday for an ice cream fix I didn't prepare for, I don't have to duck and run to the car in fear of her children seeing me and asking why I go to the store on Sunday but they don't.

But even if they ever did see me, I'm sure Amy would just tell them I like the heat. And I want to burn in hell.

You are so stinking lucky to have a friend like that. Now quit whining because she's a mile away, sheesh. Only joking. ;)

I met Amy this past summer and I got to tell you I just shed a true tear for you.... this is THE saddest freakin story to start off my week with. You really are an incredible writer this piece tells it just like I witnessed. But I promised from your family and bloggin friends....we will loan you anything you need for dinner if you give us notice and will always take aveee or benja in sheeves:) granted I am no Amy I LOVE that gossip! Did you hear NCS came to KC and loved it??

Giant bean bag - could it be a LoveSac? I could die happy in one of those. Specially if someone was letting my two-year-old cling to her knees while cooking dinner. :)

I almost started crying reading this, too, and I don't know if I've even met Amy. I just want a neighbor and a friend like that. And close. A mile really can be far. You gotta arrange a rendezvous at Chili's sometime soon.

Poor Angela. I understand. I've met Amy and she seems like a great person to be around. I have a friend like this too but she moved to MONTANA of all places. I NEVER get to see her but we e-mail pics of our kids to each other. So sad.

**feeling incredibly guilty that I don't take advantage of the fact that I have several awesome women living in my close proximity**

OK, this was a really great post. I'm sorry Amy's so far away, which sounds funny, but there is something about being able to walk to someone's house and not having to take a day to do it (like I would have to, to walk to NCS' house). You miss it when it's gone.

HOLY MOLY!!!! DID I DIE????? Just kidding! Thanks for not posting about how I pick my nose and about all these really disgusting habits I have. LOL!!!! So last night when I read this blog I kept singing that song.........so close....yet so far away. LOL. Is it really a whole mile???? I was thinking more like 3/4 of a mile.(c: We need to figure out how to sling shot or catapult can foods across spring creek. Or maybe.....just maybe you can get your A$$ over here and lounge on my LOVE SAC. I MISS YOU TOO!!! see ya!

Dude...it IS a love sac. AND she reads your blog. AND she uses the word A$$. Do NOT let this friendship die, Angela, whatever you do. Even over things as big as a whole mile AND house envy. :)

I really like this post, that's why I came back to read it. And also to tell you that you have such a talent for being a friend and a super comfortable person to be around. And for maintaining friendships with all different kinds of people. Truly, it's your forTE. When I grow up I want to be like you.

:( Your post made me so sad :(
I almost shed a little tiny tear. Then I read about the "LOVE SAC" and that made me smile.

"Well, I really should go now." Unless that's preceded by "I'll let you go now", it's a O.K. and not rude at all.
"I've borrowed eggs, flour, nutmeg, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise…" WOW! Amy must be a good friend indeed for you to keep a running tab of all items you've borrowed.

One whole mile away :'( Sounds so difficult, but not impossible for such good friends.

I'd buy a Lovesac if it meant that you would come live next door to me.

That's exactly how it felt when my sis picked up her family and moved when we were all cozy and happy in college, living in the same family living apartments ...except they moved to Mexico...

i so sorry about amy leaving. since i kind of sort of know her, but not really. my bff is about to move to colorado. totally sucks.

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