Today is my last day in Cleveland, and I’m surprised to say that I’ll be sad to leave. It’s not the city and its various attractions that I’ll miss, but the people who have given us a place to call home on the road.
First was Pauline and her family – and it was her entire family that enveloped us as their own. The kids bonded over frogs and tumbling routines and the adults talked into the wee hours of the night over jugs of beer and glasses of wine. Both of my children begged to stay longer and it took every ounce of responsible grown up I had in me to insist that we move on when the time had come. It wasn’t just the indoor plumbing, separate bedrooms and amazing cooking that enticed us all to stay; it was the joy. Joy bubbled from their home and flowed over us, soaking our souls in laughter and lightness.
As I have multiple times on this trip already, I found myself impressed by the ability of practical strangers to play with and care for one another.
I haven’t come to believe that everyone is inherently good, or even that the quantity of generous people is greater than I had previously thought. What I have noticed, however, is that there are pockets of intense generosity and kindness. Humanity’s capacity for good is inspiring.
After leaving Pauline’s, we headed to another home in Cleveland, a one bedroom apartment that I’d never even seen pictures of before. It took less than an hour for that apartment to become home.
This was the home of one of my oldest friends, Kristin, my roommate in college and maid of honor in my wedding. Kristin and I hadn’t seen each other for five years and my children barely knew her when we arrived. Within a day my daughter was letting her braid her hair, an honor reserved for absolutely no one, including me.
I’ve missed that comfort, the easiness that comes from settling in with someone who has known and loved you forever. I keep thinking of the Girl Scout anthem that encourages us to make new friends, but keep the old, because “one is silver and the other gold.” And oh, how true it is.
I’m so lucky to have a handful of girlfriends that have grown up with me and remained treasured friends. These are the friends that require no small talk, no catching up and making polite. You drop your suitcase in the corner and plop your butt on the couch and within moments you’re conversation is weaving with ease between memories and modernity.
Kristin is like a sister to me and this week she got to be an aunt to my kids. I’ll be sad to leave, but it’s comforting to know that time and distance can’t diminish our relationship. In a world when we have to embrace the temporary to survive, it’s nice to be reminded that a precious few things are, in fact, permanent.
What made you happy this week?