Last night our friends Melissa and Ray hosted a goodbye potluck for us, with our closest family friends. Tanya, Jeremy, and Ellie weren’t able to make it because of the arrival (finally!) of baby Wesley, which is a perfectly reasonable excuse. Paul, April, Rowan, and Gavin were there, of course, and it felt like the perfect, intimate gathering. All day I avoided facing the reality that it was a goodbye party, although I wonder if being ten days away from the move influenced the low level of anxiety I wrestled with all day, as well as the argument with K that dominated the morning.
It’s hard to even sum up how important these families are to us. We moved to this little community when I was pregnant, so we went from a family of two to a family of five in less than three years. I don’t know how we would have made it through those transitions if we hadn’t met these families who served as such a sounding board for all of the big and small joys and struggles of parenting tiny people. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I went to them, desperate from frustration, and confusion, and concern that we were doing it all wrong. They’ve accepted us as we are, no matter how messy or chaotic or late. Their generosity has consistently amazed me. Despite my enthusiasm for our new home, I’m struggling to believe that we’ll ever be able to meet families that we love this much in our new town. Not that we need to replace them. I know that these people will always be among our most important family friends.
And these kids – I’m so sad knowing that our kids won’t grow up with them. Both families gave us photos from the archives and it was beautiful to look back at some of those moments when our “big kids” were still babies. I can remember when I first met all of them. Paul and April were out in front of our building, with Rowan in a stroller; I want to say that she was the exact age that Jude and Vivienne are now. And we met Melissa and Ray in a breastfeeding class while we were still pregnant (after crossing paths in prenatal yoga as well), and Kristin knew Jeremy from a past teaching job, but we met Tanya on the street out on a walk one day, when she was pregnant and still waiting for Ellie to arrive. I think that Jonah was around five months old. I can remember all of the moments when we learned that they were each expecting their second child. These people have been with us for such significant moments.
These years will always be a part of what made us a family, and I want to remember them just like this: small and all together in the sandbox. But I also look forward to seeing them again, and marveling at the bigger people they’re becoming far too quickly.