Out the door
My suitcase is almost full. Just a few more things to put in tomorrow morning. By afternoon I hope to be hanging out at the playground with Cranky and Baby J, who has learned to walk since I was last there a few weeks ago.
Yesterday, AJ and I spent the day with blog delinquent Siren and her two children, who came out to spend a day in the country before we fly the coop. Siren is one of the first people I met when I moved to Chicago. We sang soprano in several different choirs together. After she graduated, she got a job at an orchestra. When I founded a choir of my own, she not only sang soprano, but she was my right arm, keeping me sane and handling the program books so I didn’t have to. When she got promoted, she convinced me to take her old job and we worked together at the orchestra for many years, surviving a very rocky leadership change to a psychopathic boss by frequenting happy hour together at a local bar — she always ordered an Old Fashioned, I always ordered a Whiskey Sour. We both got pregnant (me with AJ, she with her oldest) about the same time. Our due dates were less than two weeks apart. We took our prenatal classes together. Since then, we’ve commiserated and strategized together over issues of educating gifted children. In recent years, we’ve seen less of each other, but I always know she’s there. Even though much of our communication will stay the same, it will be different knowing she’s not just an hour away.
We had a low key day, starting with lunch out. Afterwards, we all came back to our house, where my son corrupted her children with Portal 2 on the Xbox while Siren and I got caught up. Then we all moved to the pool for a while and came back home for pizza later. She made my day be telling me about a guy I once had a crush on 20 years ago, who came to her college reunion and confessed he’d had a crush on me. Because when you’re sitting around in a bathing suit feeling fat and old, thinking about moving to a city where everyone seems young and thin, it’s nice to be told that someone still remembers that he thought you were beautiful 20 years ago.
As we said goodbye at the end of the evening, it started to really sink in how big the changes are likely to be around here. Tonight, AJ gave me an extra hard squeeze at bedtime and pressed Michael Chabon’s Summerland, which we’ve been reading out loud, into my hand.
“Don’t forget to pack it.” We made plans for me to read it over Skype or the phone every night that I’m gone.
“How are you feeling about all this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well let me know when you figure it out. I don’t know either.”
Tomorrow I have to set my alarm very early to catch my plane, the first of many. It is sure to be a whirlwind of a week. I’ll try to keep you all in the loop. Right now, I’m feeling a little like I’m stepping off a cliff and am not sure if there’s a trampoline at the bottom or a parachute on my back.