I have always maintained that dating is unnecessary. If you really want to test a relationship, move together. Not move IN together. Just move. It doesn’t even need to be your stuff. Pick up a piece of furniture and maneuver it across town. If you can carry a sofa down a flight of stairs, become lodged and unlodged in a too-small entryway, and get both it and you largely unscathed into a rental truck – or better yet, a beat-up minivan – idling by the curb, AND still be talking to one another at the end of that escapade, go ahead and marry that person. The rest will be gravy.
But my theory got an upgrade today. Because it turns out that the moving test also works on friendships. If you really want to know who your friends are, just make some plans to leave town. Then step back and feel the crazy love.
Over the course of the past month, there have been parties and bounce houses, beer, wine and cake. My friends and I have discussed gun legislation and sung karaoke. I was taken to swimming pools, movies, dinner, pedicures, and the beach. In fact, I had so much fun saying goodbyes, that I hardly had time to pack.
Thus, rock bottom came the night before last. My friend Sara stopped over with ice cream to check on my progress. Seeing our home largely unchanged 36 hours before our moving day, she launched an organizational intervention. Markers, coins, flip-flops, and sticker books all found their mates. Giveaway boxes were filled. Piles formed. She got the ball rolling. And then I suspect that she then spread the word.
Truthfully, I don’t know what she said or to whom, but all I know is that the love and assistance never stopped flowing. I am a person who does not like to ask for help. I like my friends. I hate moving. Why would I want people I like to help with something I hate? I don’t want to spread my misery.
But I learned a new kind of Math this week. I can’t wait until they start teaching it in schools. It turns out that when I share something that I dislike with folks that I love, magic happens. I should have remembered this from the great Ohio exodus of 2014 or the Connecticut relocation project of ’09, but these past 36 hours reaffirmed everything I have ever believed in the fundamental awesomeness of all the people I know and love.
Because it turns out the LOVE + HATE = LOVE.
That’s right. FRIENDSHIP (love) + MOVING (hate) = FRIENDSHIP.
Women arrived to clean my closets. They emptied my pantry, and packed sweaters into boxes.
Folks took my kids to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and tea. The children ate ice cream cones and baked bread all well away from me.
Though I was packing furiously in a house emptied of food, I never went hungry. Pizzas appeared. And seltzer waters. And donuts. And cookies. And avocado toast. And burritos, liquor, Twinkies, and string cheese.
Whenever I hit a wall, more women arrived and put themselves to work. It was like Little House on the Prairie, but with Swiffers and Adirondack chairs.
An hour before my landlord arrived to inspect the rental property, a dozen of my mom friends were in my house. Julia mopped the kitchen while holding her baby in a carrier. Lauren swept with an infant in tow. Mothers brought vacuums and Windex when it was discovered that we had mistakenly packed all of our cleaning supplies. All hands were on deck. And while I suppose I was the captain of that very dirty and sinking ship, I was also a passenger. And all of these friends took me on a pretty great ride.
So Ashley and Ashley, Julie and Julia, Leah, Melissa, Erin, Wendy, Lauren, Lara, Sara, Corrita, Stephanie, Toni, Breezy, Teresa, Whitney–and whoever else I am forgetting–thank you. You were like guardian angels. And unicorns. Thank you for the magic.
Whenever I am faced with a task that is impossibly big, I usually just double down — I work harder, stay up later, dig deep and get it done. Determination, stick-to-it-ness, strength . . . these are attributes I have all but mastered in my adult life. I am hereby checking them off of my list.
There are others, however, that I am clearly still working on. Grace, for instance. And vacuuming. And the belief that when I fall, someone will catch me. Or someones. Sometimes, I guess, when a task seems insurmountable, it is because we were never meant to tackle it alone.
They sorted my laundry and scrubbed my sinks. They fed my family and delivered spare mattresses all over town.
Moving, people. The worst, best thing that there is.
LOVE + HATE = LOVE