It’s been one week since the big decision. Tonight was the designated night to let my friends in on the secret. Talk about shaking with excitement and dread. I want my girlfriends to know what’s consuming my mental and emotional capacity. I need them to know.
I need them.
But telling them also makes it really real. As in REAL.
And six years after moving here, I finally feel like I have an amazing circle of friends. My community. We’re finally really happy and settled here.
And now we’re leaving.
FOR. A. YEAR.
The evening started out well. I played stylist and selected outfits with matching bags, jewelry and shoes for every potential type of event…from my closet. I gave away the ball gown I was wearing when newly pregnant with Miss O and Tippi Hedron accosted me in the ladies room by rubbing on my not-yet-protruding belly. Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite an assault, but having never been pregnant before, I hadn’t been warned of the violation of personal space that was to come. I gave away the suit I wore when I pitched the VC in San Francisco. I gave away the four pair of leather boots my friend Teresa picked out for me, sight unseen, at a Nordstrom ½ of ½ of ½ sale. I gave away the sequined shirt and jacket I wore to see Mama Mia one fun evening in London. I gave away the red high heels I wore when Elvis walked me down the aisle to marry Dreamboat that night in Vegas.
Several people have asked if there was a sadness.
There wasn’t. I loved purging my closet of the extravagance of things I haven’t worn in years. And I really loved seeing the joy on my friends’ faces when they found JUST the right thing.
And there was an abundance of champagne and wine. And amazing appetizers they all made.
Just FYI, I pick great friends. In addition to being wonderful people, they’re foodies too. And boy can they deliver a host of mouth-watering delicacies. Diet be damned.
Although there was no grieving the stuff, there was a ½ day of panic that I was wounding my kids.
My family moved a lot when I was younger, and my family gave away EVERYTHING. Almost all my parents’ stuff is relatively new, whereas the friends who were recipients of all that generosity have ‘our’ antiques lining their walls. And my Dad no longer has his letters jacket. And whenever Dreamboat leaves a back-up hard drive in their closet, he tapes a big sign over it saying ‘Do NOT throw away. I will collect soon.” And includes the date of the expected pick up.
So…after some soul searching and a chat with Teresa, of the four pair of leather boots, I realized it wasn’t a binary problem. I’m smart that way! I didn’t have to keep everything, or give everything.
So, I let Miss O pick some of her favorite pieces of jewelry, and kept two sparkly shirts hidden in my closet that she has eyed for years. And I asked her if she was okay with what I was giving (she answered that she had already taken all she wanted). The wedding gown is still safely archived on the top shelf. I even kept TWO pairs of running shoes for those weeks when I fit in running AND exercising at the gym.
Back to the evening.
I had put off telling my news as long as I could.
I finally called an intermission to the private-trunk-show-shopping and discovered that corralling my friends away from the free merchandise was a bit like herding cats. When we finally all gathered in the kitchen for the dessert course, I told them all how much I treasure them in my life, how they are my personal ‘corporate board’.
And…that I’m leaving.
Talk about ‘Debbie Downer’. From then on, there was a lot more tears, a lot less champagne. And no toasts.
When the shock wore off, and we were able to talk again, several said how much they admire my strength. My ability to step out of my comfort zone and make the hard decisions.
That I inspire them.
I didn’t feel inspiring.
Tonight felt like paying the cost of following your dreams. The heartache of leaving. I’ve always been the newcomer and never felt like I really belonged.
Until now. And now I’m leaving.
I will treasure these women in my heart. Always. And as happy as I know I’ll be out on my big adventure, I know I’ll long for them. For their friendship. For their openness and honesty and willingness to share their lives with me. And for the taken-for-granted-joy of sitting over several glasses of wine and looking into their beautiful faces, and talking.
As happy as I am to follow my dreams, my heart is breaking just a little.