I have to say goodbye to one of my dear friends this week. Not the final “goodbye” thank God. But one thing I have learned in this huge bus stop they call CA, where people just come for a stop along their way to somewhere else, is that when people move away you can’t just call them to tell them you saw something on sale or ask them if they remembered where you put your keys when they were last at your house. Sure, there is email, but I will never write an email about the contents of my purse or some random thought I had while driving. Ok, well I might but most people won’t.
Why is this important? I don’t know it just works that way.
This friend of mine is a beautiful, petite, charming and wonderful mother and part of a group of mothers I meet with once a week. I don’t watch her mother that often because our kids are in different places, but I know she is wonderful because I see the pain in her eyes when she tells me how she fell short (always it is in a way everyone of us has fallen short a zillion times along the way). I know she is a wonderful mother because on a day when she has told me how glad she is to have a break and it is obvious by looking at her that she is not exaggerating her day, her face lights up and her eyes twinkle as she greets my baby who comes running into her arms (something he doesn’t do for just anyone).
This friend of mine is someone who has found things I had given up on, whether they were in a store, or in my car and she just happened to remember seeing me put them there. This friend weighs what I weighed in 7th grade but has lifted more than her weight in my suitcase when my back was out. This is one of those amazing people who know how to listen and go along without resentment on errands when there is nothing in it for them. This friend pulls my ponytail when I am being too outrageous or not yielding the floor to the other mothers who have an annoying habit of wanting to talk for a minute or two after an hour or so of listening to me. And I never feel bad or mad when she does it. She has talked me down off of ledges, rallied to be mad at the people I’m mad at, or stood in the gap when I could not see someone else’s point of view.
This friend has said that at times she feels invisible. This is a joke we’ve shared since we could not come up with any other theory that would explain why her kids ignore her repeated efforts to get them to do something.
I have a dove’s nest in the pillars on my porch. When I came to look at this house I took it as a sign from God that I was going to be happy here. In my previous house one of my fond memories was of rescuing a dove from my cat and nursing it back to health. We had her long enough to name her “Lovey Dovey” and so that is what they are all called. We watched as our current Lovey Dovey raised two baby Lovey Doveys to maturity. We watched them fly to the fence and hang out for a couple of days. We watched them fly away. Then after a few days she too flew away. Well, she is back. I am not sure if she is sitting on anybody at the moment, but she never ever leaves the nest. She just sits there day after day after day doing nothing. Not only that, but she is the color of her nest which is the color of the pillar it is sitting on which is the color of the ground it is sitting on.
I suspect Lovey Dovey’s blog entries are rather bland. “Sat on the nest all day and night again. Still have not lost weight. Still brown.” (I have not gone to her site; it would be awkward if I saw she wrote about us or something). What she does not know and can not know is that just seeing her up there every day gives me comfort. I don’t speak to her. I don’t pet her. I don’t take care of her. I just see her. When she is gone I miss her. I don’t feel this way about my neighbor’s car. I don’t feel this way about the work my neighbors had done on their house. These things took a lot of work and gazillion dollars. Who cares? Lovey Dovey might think we do. After all, they flash or make a lot of noise and get a lot of attention from the people who own them.
Like Lovey Dovey, we just don’t know what is meaningful. We just don’t know how what we do matters or does not matter in life. T.V. is definitely not the place to find meaning. I know. I’ve searched for it there. I have never seen a Lovey Dovey documentary and even if I did, it would not be MY Lovey Dovey they were talking about. Tonight I was ashamed to realize that movie stars I like I don’t really care about (except the ones I know personally). I perk up and listen when they are in some scandal and I take note when they die. T.V. taught me it’s ok to be like this.
No, I am not going to stop watching T.V. and park my chair in front of a dove’s nest all day. I am just thinking about the example of my friend and how I want to be a Lovey Dovey in my friends’ and family’s lives. I want to be content to be brown and stationary when it goes against my urge to fly and be colorful if being brown and stationary is really what is called for.
My girlfriend is not brown and stationary. But the ways she has touched my life have come about in very brown packages. I will miss sharing the daily brownness of our lives because my tendency with long distance relationships is to just share the colorful highlights. If she had already moved I would be emailing her telling her that I was in the recording studio today or that after drinking Pepsi my baby learned 5 new words. I would probably not mention that feeling sad about her leaving, I was distracted and got lost coming home from the studio and after screaming obscenities to no one I realized that it would just take a little while to stop feeling the sting of missing her.