I‘m cranky and tired and don’t feel like adventure, which isn’t like me. Today I went into a Forever 21 inside the Town Center mall, and I found myself letting out a little whine because the Forever 21 here in Boca is a quarter the size of each of the two in Austin. Mind you, I realize a 35 (almost 36) year old woman shouldn’t be shopping at Forever 21, but still. I do. They make great tank tops and accessories and, surprisingly, fantastic shoes. I digress. It just felt like the small store was the straw.
Making friends here feels like a race. Like, you have to time that friendship right, and make sure “she” whomever she is, is as friend-open as you are, that she, too, is looking to open herself up to new. Because there are plenty of people who aren’t looking to make new friends—it’s hard enough keeping up with the friends we already have. I think it feels like a race here because I know so many new people who are in the same boat. You’d think that would draw us closer together, faster, and with some it really has, but in so many ways it feels like this strange unspoken competition. I’m sure it’s just me and my insecurities, and that no one else feels it. Which actually makes me feel it all the more.
If she makes plans with her first, if they’re close first, I’ll just be the “sometimes” friend. I guess I’m looking for a replacement of you. Not that I could, ever, obviously. But I was always able to open up to you, in part because you were just so much fun, so confessional, so… sister-like. And I find myself here, now, asking myself how you’d act. “If she were here,” I tell myself, “she’d get out of her car and wait with the other mothers at early dismissal. She wouldn’t be sitting in her car, waiting in the carpool pickup line instead.” And then, I sit in my car. Because, I suppose, I’m just too tired to race off and get me some friends in a hurry.
It might also have to do with circles. Aside from the ones beneath my eyes, the circles in Austin were big, like, Texas big. It didn’t feel incestuous on any level, and when I’d bring friends together they never knew one another outside of knowing me. Our worlds were wider. In Austin I had friends without children, single friends, mom friends, foodie friends, dinner party friends, photography friends, let’s mock The Bachelor granola friends, craft night scrapbooking / sewing friends, friends who’d host baking orgies, older friends who had better wine and better wisdom, country club let’s cozy up to the bar friends, live music scene friends, writer friends, game night friends, and best of all, drinking friends who’d sometimes conceive children in our guest room.
Boca feels crowded with people who all know one another. I think that just means it’s time for me to branch out beyond Woodfield, beyond the preschools and playgrounds. I need more touch points. I think we all could use more diversity. In fact, I think we can create our own. Here’s my plan. I’m making a list of the things I love. And I’m going to join a group for it, a class, whatever it takes to widen my circle. Mostly, I’m going to do the things I love. Because it’s just too incestuous having so much overlap. Like, you know you’re all seeing a movie together tomorrow night, so who do you call to hang out tonight? If you had a completely different set of friends who you adored equally, you’d have an answer.
Tonight Phil is off in Ft. Lauderdale until 10pm, and it’s 4:50pm here now, and I could be getting together, drinking some mama wine, watching chick TV, or meeting at some kid-friendly dinner destination. Instead, I’m on my sofa, shoes off, hair up, glasses on, typing at the computer about how lost I feel. Only, I know that this is temporary, that I need to rest. Holy shit, seriously, don’t I sound exhausted? Moving is stressful. Marriage, kids, all of it. Abigail goes in on Thursday for her chin “revision,” where they put her under. It’s way worse on me, I already know. I wish I had a stay-at-home friend here. A pajama friend. A no makeup, no bullshit, let’s tell it like it is and live it like it’s not friend. I guess I’m just feeling blue. Think it’s about time to crack open that green little notebook* I’ve been saving.
I love this photo above because that, right there, is my “I love you” face. You can’t fake that face, that emotion of watching someone across the room and just being so in love with who they are as a person that it makes you want to cry. And “you” is so many of the genuinely sister-like friends of mine in Austin. Many of them mark these pages and stud these photos, and others, some of the closest, weren’t able to make it on this particular night. I miss the details of your lives, your voices, and our casual touches throughout a day. Now, I’m crying and wiping my nose. Which is a good look with the glasses and hair bun. I miss you. For real.
My two talented friends Erica and Lisa made this quilt just for me. I don’t know if I could feel more loved. Do you know what a bitch it is to make a quilt? That’s lots of love right there. Turtle Dove Love…. notice the personalized turtle detail (below)?
I’m pointing to the turtle with my finger. It’s a symbol that holds so much weight for me. We should all have our own power animals and power friends that somehow channel strength to us, wherever we are.
* The green notebook was a gift from a Give Get friend, who invited my other friends to write me love letters. I haven’t cracked it open yet; I’ve been saving it in my bedside table for moments like this.