Why is it when some women get together, a meal away from the family is required in order for the meeting to be justified? If I told my kids I was leaving to play darts or pool, or disappeared on a Saturday morning to play golf, my family would have some major issues.
It seems like another double standard for women. Many women aren’t allowed to vary from the routine of taking care of the children. Make sure the young’uns are always fed, watered, and clothed. And if you want to meet for brunch with your girlfriends, it will have to be at a convenient time for the kids and dad.
Well, clutch my pearls and strut my heels across the linoleum while putting a supreme casserole in the range!
Luckily, it isn’t that bad at my house. For years, I had monthly brunches with my gal pals to catch up on our lives since we no longer worked together at the children’s hospital in town. However, when I became a parent, I had no clue what type of time it was going to take to keep children flourishing. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this?
Of course, when the babies started coming, our brunch group dwindled.
First, only one of the five of us would cancel. Then when our kids got into sports, the parent chaperone schedule ruled our lives and it was hit or miss for quite some time. Eventually, that group fizzled out. The women who were my best friends, confidants, and even my bridesmaids floated away to care for their families.
After that group ended the brunches, I moved to a new neighborhood. Unbeknownst to me, I would be living next to my next group of best friends.
The family behind us had girls about the same ages as mine as did the family to the right. So many girls in one tiny area! We used to laugh about having to build a tall fence surrounding our yards to make our “compound” impenetrable by any boys in the neighborhood.
Through the years, our families grew up together. We were the perfect village for each other. Need to borrow tools? No problem. Need a cup of couscous? One of the wives would have it. But the best part was when the husbands traveled, we were there for each other.
All you needed to do was tell the other wives you were overwhelmed and the other two would pitch in. Babysitting, removing ticks, watching the other children while they rushed one daughter to the hospital, or deciding if one of the kids needed stitches.
One of us always solved the drama.
My neighboring wives became my fast new friends. Holidays would include the other two families, even if in-laws overstayed their visits and crashed a party. It never mattered because after eight years, we were all family.
We were so close that when we were sitting in a dark closet rocking each other’s girls and dogs during an actual tornado warning, after someone who will remain nameless peed on your mom jeans while a tornado touched down several blocks away, a strong bond ensues.
Recently, out of the blue, one of my dear neighbor friends announced she and her family were deserting the compound and moving out of state. Talk about the wind being knocked out of us.
It wasn’t something they actively were searching out. A job opportunity of a lifetime came with one call; and not only their lives, but ours were changed as well.
Just like a Kansas tornado, they blew out of town one month later. I still can’t believe it’s true. It happened so fast, others in the neighborhood didn’t know they were moving until a Facebook post of them in playing in a park full of palm trees appeared.
I know they will have success in their new home. I know the rest of us will carry on. After all, this has happened to tons of families for decades; but our birthday lunches for the three of us were such a special and much needed time for us gals.
Hopefully, our husbands are racking up some good frequent flyer miles while traveling for work, because our birthday lunches are going to be a bit more challenging and take more planning.
I won’t say goodbye, until next time, my dear friend. And get on that spare bedroom for us. There’s a birthday in July and that isn’t too far away.
Stacey Hatton has written numerous columns about her life with these neighbors. They all will be missed terribly and eventually she will open the blinds to meet the new neighbors.