Saturday, December 25, 2010

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

We have so much to be thankful for in our lives.  Yet, I am more than a little melancholy tonight.  The prospect of our last Christmas Eve on Davidson Park is very tough for me to wrap my head around.  When we moved, eleven years ago, to the Midwestern twin towns of my childhood, I was a little anxious.  I asked Rob to promise that we wouldn't end up dying here.  I know how C-U can suck people in.  It is the Bermuda Triangle of the Midwest.  There is something that keeps people here, even with the lack of natural beauty (we have no mountains nor ocean, just flat plains filled with corn or soybeans, as far as the eye can see) and entertainment (although, the downtowns are hopping compared to when I was a teenager).  This area is transient.  Many wonderful friends have come and gone when they are through with the university.  It is also a place many people come back to and never leave.  Manic depressive, our town is.  From the day we moved here, I expected our stay here to be short.  We have always been lucky to have nice people near us.  Yet, when we moved to our old house in a new to us neighborhood, four years ago, I truly understood why people stay.  We are surrounded by lovely people who are the most thoughtful humans on the planet.  We are gifted year round by their existence in our lives.  Just today we had several neighbors stop by unexpectedly, just to drop off vegan cookies, or say "Merry Christmas", or hang out and chat/play.  I didn't think this kind of community existed before living here and it is worth more to me than they will ever know.  I am unable to repay what they have given  us.

How can I do justice to Vicky and Greg?  They are so talented and generous.  Vicky is better than Martha Stewart, but so down to Earth and giving.  Greg is the neighborhood doctor with a fun sense of humor and always willing to help out.  Vicky's father is just as warm-hearted and sweet as he could be.  My kids have gained so much having them in their lives.  Parker has learned woodworking skills and all three kids learned to swim in their pool, but really there is so much more that is hard to put into words.  I can not imagine our lives without them in it.  To think, we were dreading the day when they would move to be closer to their grown children, yet here we are leaving first.

Margie and Rick, oh how do I explain how giving and wonderful they are.  Margie always listens to the kids and to us.  I only had to mention a need or the kids would mention a favorite color or toy and we would find the need met or the toy gifted or special presents in their favorite color.  Rick is so dependable and quiet, riding his bike around the neighborhood and working tirelessly on the house next door.  He always has a new joke for the kids, which they adore.  Margie, the artist, shared her love of art with Parker and taught him how to knit.  She is always so understanding and patient with Dema, in a way that is inspirational to me.  She spoils them all in a grandmotherly way.  Since my kids are growing up without any real grandmothers in their lives, this care is even more meaningful and precious to me.

Chandra and her boys, how they liven everything up.  Chandra brightens up my day, even if I just see her for a few minutes as she is always so busy.  She is beautiful inside and out with her nails and hair in the latest fashion and a voice made for singing.  She has the best sense of style and is an awesome mother for two amazing boys.  My kids are always happy to see her children at the park.  Her youngest has always looked after Dema and Josie.  It has been so much fun to see her eldest growing to be a young man.

Cynthia and Ernie, oh I'm sure you know them.  Cynthia is more honest and open with her life, than anyone I have ever met.  Their boys were one of the reasons we bought this house and they have been companions for my kids which will be impossible to replace.  I can't imagine summers without chatting with them outside, maybe with a drink or two, watching the kids play in the lot next to their house until it is too dark to see and the mosquitoes are too thick to ignore.  Their house concerts introduced some great music and musicians into our lives.  Summers will not be as sweet without our visits.  With them comes their neighbor, Dave, how I'll miss Dave.  You just can't be sad around Dave.  Josie will always have a place in her heart for Dave and his son.

Deborah and Scott, I can't bare it.  Their eldest is Dema's best friend and their youngest is Josie little boyfriend.  How special to be able to spend hours talking, have impromptu diners, take care of each others children at a moments notice, and their house is the only place Dema has ever felt comfortable sleeping over.  They have been a second set of parents to our kids, especially Dema, and true friends to us.

Bob, the grandfatherly professor of the neighborhood.  He is strong and fun.  He rides his bike to work and is the first one out snow blowing after a snow.  He always livens up the park when he comes out to visit.

Anthony and his family.  How we will miss talking politics and life with Anthony.  Conversation is always powerful and passionate with Anthony around.  I admire his sister's green thumb and how I wanted to learn so much from her as we slowly starting working our yard into a garden.  I always loved seeing his wife, Jean, riding home on her bike and enjoyed chatting with her at the park as we pushed our girls in the swings.

Gita and Seth.  Friday afternoon yoga with the kids which turns into Friday evening potluck dinners.  How my kids will miss Gita's pies and how I will miss seeing Seth's projects around the house.  Josie looks up to their girls, that year older being oh such a big deal at three.  She wants so much to be like them and we look up to Gita and Seth with the same admiration.

Aviva and Steve, who we stalk every time they came to the park.  Seeing them always makes my day better.  I will miss their bare feet, wit, and talking about local food.  They are so alive and involved and it is, thankfully, quite contagious.  Their adorable little daughter, who Dema has loved from her birth.  I can't imagine not seeing her grow up into a young woman.

Katie and Ian with their daughters and Jim and Danielle and their daughters.  How nice it was to have more girls in the park to keep up with Josie or for Josie to corrupt with her wild ways.  What will Rob do without sharing a beer with the guys as they try to master the slack line?  I lived vicariously through Katie and Danielle's pregnancies this summer and can't believe I won't see their babies learn to walk.

There are so many more, I can't list everyone here and it makes the tears come as I think of all the people we will miss.  Countless more people in the community at large, from the ones we see and know only enough to talk at the farmer's market to the ones we brunch with until into the evening.  We will miss each and every one.

I can't imagine ever living away from the park.  My life will be lacking when I can't walk out our door and live all day at the park, reading and learning, then playing at our park.  I can't imagine not having any more parties with 200+ people, in the house, the yard, at the park.  I gave birth to our last child in the room over-looking the park.  We buried two placentas in the yard and expected to grow lovely fruits and vegetables on the spot for years to come.  Literally and figuratively putting down roots with our gardening and living.  Now pulling them up makes me miss crazy things.  Our compost bins.  We moved compost across town, but we won't be moving it across the country.  I get sad when I think of our compost.  How silly!  Our cycling neighborhood.  How I will miss so many of our neighbors coming and going on their bikes.  Our car free life, a pain at times, but a luxury at others.  How I will miss being able to bike, bus, and walk for all our daily needs.  When we needed a vehicle, our neighbors, many listed above, were happy to hand over their keys to their car or give us a ride or pick up groceries when they were out.  So many lovely memories we have to hold onto, but our time here is ending way too quickly.  I had finally felt a desire to grow old here and now we must go.

As the snow falls peacefully, just as a perfect painting outside on my lovely neighborhood, I am warmed by the thought of so many people I love living nearby.  I am also sad because our time here has come to a close.  I wrap it all in a warm mental embrace and tuck it into a place in my heart where it will stay forever.


Anonymous said...

Linda--though we haven't had the chance to become well acquainted, through your blog I've so enjoyed the window into your family's lives. It's hard to imagine you all being in any other community--you'll be missed by more people than you will ever know. --Molly B

Anonymous said...

Everytime we come back, I can relate to your lovely post. My parents house looks a lot like yours with kind neighbors, too. We made it back in time for the snow and will be here for another week. Would lo to see you if you're not too busy packing. Will you be coming our way?? We're back in Seattle again and happier than ever. Hugs to you all!

the sandwich life said...

This breaks my heart Linda. I can't imagine this neighborhood without you, Rob and the kids. Much, much love to you.

VeganLinda said...

Molly, Thanks so much! You are too kind. One of my big regrets is the people we know a bit, but thought we'd have the chance to spend time with in the future. There are so many (like you!) we've wanted to get to know better.

S, I would love to check out Seattle and Rob could get a job there in a second, but he doesn't want to go to the west coast, at this time. We both have fathers who are aging and don't have spouses so we feel the need to stay closer. I've been meaning to email you and ask you how things are in Seattle. We would love to come visit!

The kids and I will probably be around for months to come, but Rob will be working out of state. We'll see. I'm not sure if a slow farewell is better. We have house projects before we pack. Are you free Sunday?

Cynthia, Breaks mine too. :-( I can hardly see any of the neighbors without tearing up so I've been hiding out. Silly, I know.

Anonymous said...

You would be welcome anytime! R didn't come along with us this year, so it's just me and Max this time around. We have family things today I'm afraid but are free tomorrow (Mon) and Tuesday. I know what you mean...slow are quick goodbye - neither are fun. Blessings on your preparations, journey and transitions!

Mike said...

I will miss visiting with you and the family when we make it up in the spring. I was looking forward to finally trying Rob's slack line...year and change from my ankle surgery, so the old man's good to go.

The peas from the garden are called Zipper Creme...if you cannot find seed, I'll send you some.

Best to all in your new home.
mike (katie's dad)

carey-olsen family said...

Oh dear, this post makes my heart feel very heavy as it brings home the reality that you guys will actually be leaving some time in the not so distant future. Wow! You will be missed in so very many ways. Ways that I'm sure won't all even become apparent until we are faced with the fact that you are gone :( I know that you'll find another wonderful neighborhood to fill with all of your amazing presences, but you guys will be leaving behind a big void in this one. We will miss you and will always remember fondly the time that we shared here with you. Meanwhile, we'll look forward to visiting you wherever you land!