Monday, November 9, 2009

The End of an Era

We live in this very tiny house. I love my tiny house, but we’re trying very hard to sell it so we can move into a much bigger house, one that will meet the needs of this next phase of our life…one where two soon-to-be adolescent girls can have a room of their own, one where two authors - on aspiring, one already twice published - can have space in body and mind to create. And most importantly, one with two bathrooms.

We had a small gathering on Saturday night, one of many festive events we have held in this yellow farmhouse. There were many moments during the night where I looked at my friends, laughing, chatting, eating jello shots in the kitchen, and I felt the power of that energy so strongly attached to this home. A variety of toasts were offered through the night, to one’s new job, to another’s foray into law school, to a baby due in February and another coming in June. We have celebrated many events together, raised many glasses here. They assure me that we will bring that energy with us, that we will create more memories in the new house, and I know that’s true. But still…here we were Thirtysomething. Here we proved to ourselves, and each other, that we can still be sexy and sassy at every age, post-babies, or during, post-advanced degree, after twenty extra pounds and a bunch of disappointments and changing epochs in our lives. Our Forties, and everything that will come with them, will be celebrated elsewhere.

We had a decade of Fourth of July parties here. We put our tiny babies together in a kiddie pool under the big tree. Now, those "babies" run around the yard together of their own volition, collecting fairies or battling woodland creatures, quite oblivious to the adults relaxing on the back porch. We have had a decade of Faux Christmases, with Ben making it all the way through A Christmas Carol. (Ending two years ago with the memorable line, “And now I never have to come to this stupid party again.”) There have been awkward moments in events with friends fighting, or couples breaking up, or other under-the-surface drama rippling the energy, but that’s all part of what makes it so real.

We’ve celebrated lots of events in lots of places, and this is not to exclude any of the other gatherings we have. My friends are so welcoming, and we have so many traditions and events that we all look forward to. These are just my thoughts about having gatherings here. When I was a kid, I was never the one who had friends over. My dad liked things pretty quiet, and I used to long to have the house where people gathered. And now, four times a year, at least, my house is that house. Even though it’s tiny. Even though not everyone can make every gathering. Even though there is only one bathroom that any number of people have thrown up in (not everyone could be as skilled as to throw up off the back porch, as one notable girlfriend did during one Faux Christmas…and I laughed till I very nearly peed myself. It will be high on my list of Top Ten Favorite Westwood Road Party Moments.) Even though we have only one bedroom in which to fit sleeping babies and everyone has to get a sitter when they come to my house…they still come. They still dress up, or dress way, way down, they bring food they’ve made with love (and/or duct tape), they leave their Tupperware and sweaters and trays behind. But they come, gladly.

How I love my friends. How blessed I feel every single day knowing that if I ever needed something, at least a dozen people would drop everything to be by my side in a moment. And how I cherish the chances to have a whole bunch of them in my house, together, to ply them with liquor and to wax tipsy-poetical on how much they mean to me.

It was pretty amazing to realize that everyone who was at that party on Saturday was there because Dan Miller brought me to lunch at the dining common one afternoon in the spring of 1990. He’d sat next to me most of the semester in Prof. Knauf’s Reading Drama class, and on the last day of class, I had written on the bottom of a notebook page, “Will I ever see you again after this?” He wrote back, “I expect so.” (I still have that page, of course, taped in my journal.) He introduced me to his friends that day who were part of the theatre community at UMass, and to the rest is history. He left the next year for his year abroad with instructions to Christianna to keep an eye on me. That was nineteen years ago. I like to think that it was inevitable, that I would have found my way in somehow, that this tribe was waiting for me no matter what…but still…that was the way it happened. That’s how I met Nicole, which is how I met Patrick, and he brought us Sean. It’s how I met Bill Larkin, my ill-conceived crush on whom brought me to Janna, and Elise and Pete and Ben. Everyone else grew from there, and from other connections through theater over the years. Even Andrea, Single Hot Babysitter Friend that everyone tries to steal came to our group as a result of theatre. I could write a book on each and every one of these relationships, and little by little, through this blog, I have a feeling that I will. (So be patient, my friends. Your turn is coming, I promise.)

My oldest friend is, of course, Lisa, but my oldest friend of the people gathered last night is Dan Fishman, my buddy from my junior year AP History class. He’s now married to the girl who I first met when she taught me to put a condom on a banana in a public health program in my dorm common room. (That’s right. You’re welcome, Danny.)

We might get to have our annual Faux Christmas in this house, but I have no way of knowing that yet. I am sticking to my resolution of relaxing and letting the Universe unfold the plan. (Which is utterly unlike your very impatient blogger, who needs to know the ending of movies before she sees them.) So, it may well be that this trailer park themed Tramptoberfest will have been the last of our gatherings here. If that’s the case…well, what a way to go. Thanks, friends.

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