I lived in Illinois for about two decades. I arrived when I was 18 to start college and so my whole adult life - college, my 20s, dating, coming out, doing theater work, getting an interpreting degree, becoming an interpreter, doing my first film, adopting pets, meeting Derek, matching with a surrogate, having babies, etc. - all happened in Illinois. I had friends there who had been through it all with me -- all of my triumphs and failures, successes and setbacks. Moving to Boston was hard. Very hard. No...I take that back. Moving was extremely hard. I lost so much of my great life that I had built. I don't regret it, it was just hard...wait...I mean extremely hard.
Last night I had two friends over with their kids. While the kids played and watched a movie the two parents and Derek and I sat in the kitchen laughing, eating, and swapping war stories.
Friend #1: I can't wait until the obsession with poop is done.
Me: Yeah, we hear a lot about poop and butts.
Friend #2: I guess that's boys. Our problem at my house is boogers on the wall.
Friend #1: Yes!
Me: I always ask if they need a tissue and they always say --
Friend #1: Or they just eat it.
Me: I'm glad my kids aren't the only ones who do that.
Friend #1: Nope. And the pee all over the bathroom -- ugh! Boys are gross.
Me: We thought our toilet tank was leaking for a few days because every time we'd go into the bathroom the whole tank was wet. The tank! Not the toilet seat or the floor, but the tank!
Friend #2: I have a girl and we have pee everywhere too!
Boogers on the wall is still making me laugh 24 hours later.
Moving, as I said, was tough. Losing my Chicago friends was tough. But I'm now in a community with friends who make me laugh and support me as I go through this roller coaster ride of parenthood. I have neighbors who will take care of my cats when I'm away and I take care of their pets. I picked up a neighbor's kid from school when a mom couldn't get off work early enough. I had friends take Jeff overnight when Aaron needed to go to the hospital. Derek and I watched a kid overnight to give a mom a break when her husband was away for a week. Friends let me put them down as an emergency contact on camp forms. We talk about the struggles our kids are going through, share babysitter resources, and celebrate birthdays together. I'm realizing that my community and my relationships are growing.
I hope to be in this community until my kids graduate high school. Life could throw a curve ball and maybe we'll leave earlier than expected, but I'd love to keep these people in my life and have them become lifelong friends. They're good people who support my family and me. I'm making good memories and I have a feeling that years from now, when we are crying as our kids leave the nest and head to college, if I remind these parents that we will no longer have to deal with boogers on the wall we'll all have a good laugh together through our tears.