Nine years ago we moved our family south. The day we moved in, another family was moving in just across the street from us. “She” was a mom with two little girls with bows in their hair that matched their dresses and their dresses had monogrammed little initials on the front. The family went to church every week, never yelled and they attended “play dates.” “She” drove a white Volvo station wagon, (uh-huh, one of those.)
“She” was going to hate me.
The first time we met it was dark outside and I was walking down the street. I was pregnant with our youngest. I will translate that since you don’t know me well enough yet…
I was crazy, loud, screaming at my twin four year-olds to stay out of the road and I had my own moons orbiting me, (If you read my story about giving birth to farm animals and how my bellybutton is now a cup holder you understand and if you didn’t I will put a link below.)
“She” was, thin and blond and she had her front door open and the glass storm door closed. Who does that at night AND with the lights on? Sure, I have done it but I have threatened my husbands life if he turns a light on.
So, “She” has two small children AND her house is clean.
I hated her.
Due to proximity and the fact that I would NEVER schedule a “play date”, (what is that about) we exchanged phone numbers. It doesn’t mean that my kids don’t “play.” We just play with kids when play happens.
Our kids would often hang out in the driveways together. They were a great match. My boys don’t have sisters and her girls don’t have brothers. My boy’s mom is a fast blinker and her girl’s mom is a slow blinker.
Blinker Definition: I define people that I come into contact with as either slow blinkers or fast blinkers. You have to have something to size people up by. You do it too! You can “blink both ways” but you are mostly one or the other. I know I am a fast blinker because when I talk, slow blinkers look out of the top of their eyes at me. I am sure “Conservative, Connecticut, Catholic, Cathy” found me a bit overwhelming. This was never going to work.
One day I called Cathy regarding a neighborhood issue. I asked the rhetorical question, “How are you?”
She replied, “You know, I am trying to figure out what to do about a little girl at school that is being mean to Chloe. Chloe came home from school crying. This girl wont stop calling her names. I tried telling their teacher before that this little girl is mean to Chloe but the teacher keeps saying the girls have to work things out on their own.”
“Do you know where this girl lives? I will go straighten her out. Come on, you and me! We’ll show her what it’s like to have someone bullying you.” Yeah, it was me that said it. I was threatening to go shake down a preschooler. I wasn’t really going to.
Guess what? She decided, at that moment…
“She” liked a little crazy.
Cathy laughed at me. I then pretended that I was joking and I laughed back.
At that moment we became friends.
I have NO IDEA why we are friends.
Have you seen the television show “Two Broke Girls?”
That is us.
We even look like the characters, (a little older, you didn’t have to point it out!) She is so polite and mindful of what she says at all times. She says “yes” to being a “scissor mom” when the teacher stares down the classroom of new parents and I am dunking behind someone snickering.
When my husband was done with training we bought a larger house in a neighboring town. Within a year a lot went up for sale around the corner from us and I called her as the guy was pushing the “For Sale” sign into the ground. They bought it it that week and built their new home. She has been as close as a sister and her husband has been my husbands partner in crime. Our kids go to the same school, we belong to the same club and we have spent Christmas with their families. They are ours, without the family tree.
We are yin and yang.
We have laughed for years, before we even knew what a “sister wife” was, that if we could just share our work it would be so much easier. I like to cook the savory dishes and she likes desserts. I like to play in the dirt and she likes to clean dirt. I like to wash and she likes to iron, well we don’t “like” to but someone has to do it. She does the homework help and I do the shopping, (mostly because I didn’t do homework when I was a kid and I’m not starting now.) If we could work it out with separate houses and husbands and beds and it would be _____ amazing!
Then her husband was offered an awesome new job. In another city. It is too far to commute. He has been trying for a year to drive 2 1/2 hours each way or stay in an apartment a couple nights a week. I cannot complain. I keep telling myself, I cannot complain. I know she is torn up about moving from a place and a community that they all love. I know she is a good wife and wants her husband to be happy. I know he is a good husband because he tried to make it work. I know it is wrong of me to think about ways to make him “disappear.” I am kidding people!
We have five gloomy kids between us and now it is my turn to be happy and supportive. I am finding all the reasons they should move, because I know it is best for their family, and because they need to be together more.
They might have an offer on their house and I am saying prayers for them because I know this past year has been hard. The reality is hitting home and I realize they will be moving away. I count my blessings to have met her and know they will always be a part of our lives. I think I will write a personal reference letter for her to give to any of her new neighbors in case any of them are fast blinkers.
Dear Fellow Fast Blinker,
I am writing this letter as a person that has known Cathy for nearly nine years. Please give her a second chance as a friend. I know that when you met her you thought she was a “Hard Right” republican and that she doesn’t know how to have a good time. You probably figured she has a blog about cleaning tips. She is none of those things.
She can drink you under the table and she drinks scotch on the rocks. When you have had too many cocktails and are trying to take off your saggy tights she will get down on the floor and yank them off by the toes, (and then display them in your house for you to find the next day.) That is a good friend that can be both helpful and bad at the same time.
When your boys catch something really gross and they want to go show her she will rustle up a scream to make your kids proud. She bakes gourmet desserts but keeps Little Debbies in her pantry because she knows the neighbor moms wont buy them for their kids, (because
I the mom’s will eat the entire box before the kids get home from school.)
She will cry if someone hurt you or your family but first she will comfort you. Don’t expect her to come to your football parties, she is a snob like that. She cannot stand football parties because all the women talk and she can’t watch the game. She will send a dish to pass at the football party with her husband but she will stay home and watch the game, uninterrupted. Do not be offended.
So if she gives you this letter, you just won the neighbor lottery. Be good to her but not too good. She will be a little homesick and will need some attention. She takes harassment well. She hates Halloween so do things like leave fake body parts in meat packs in grocery bags on her front porch. A simple bloody handprint on her front door does double duty as scary and dirty. She will thank you later.
PS. If you aren’t nice to her, I know where you live.
Abbie at allthatmakesyou.com
(I totally fuzzed her out so she doesn’t get kicked out of church)