Today is the Magnet Lab’s annual open house. I only remember this because of Facebook postings that I cannot avoid. Someone asked me why I didn’t make my trip to Tallahassee to coincide with the Open House. Why would I want to go? There’s nothing about the open house that appeals to me after 15 years of organizing, stressing, arguing, and cajoling. Besides, it’s not events that brought me back to Tallahassee — it was people. You could also say that I should have chosen dates that worked for the Empty Bowl event or the start of the football season for FSU, but again — those are not the things I miss most. Only three days into being alone again, I am reflecting on newly fallen snow, a low of 8 degrees tomorrow and a need to drive to the mail room and the dump (pardon me, the Refuse and Recycling Center!).
While in Tallahassee, I had dinner with my cousins Jill and Maxine. It was so wonderful to catch up and truly appreciate how family accepts you for who you are, not what they want you to be. As usual, Jill was right and having dinner at home was far more conducive to conversation that dining out and we shared a lot. I especially appreciated that I could share my feelings about moving back north without judgment although I’m pretty much convinced that they think I was rash in my decision-making. Maxine took the photo here and as usual didn’t want to be in the photo although she looks terrific! We reminisced a bit, shared current likes and dislikes, and Jill discussed her current passion for jazz at B Sharp’s, not to mention her piano lessons. How she could even think about piano lessons is a puzzle to me since she was part of my piano experience. My parents managed to take all the fun out of playing as every time anyone came in our front door, I was required to play Autumn Leaves. Jill still makes fun of me for this although I had nothing to do with it. We even had an ad agency use our garage for a print ad and, before my father would sign the contract, I had to play the piano! Embarrassing is an understatement. But I still miss sharing these memories in person.
Earlier in the week, I had dinner with Roxanne and Kim. I still marvel at how we all became friends because the thing we have most in common is work and yet we talked about everything and anything except work. Our dinner at Kool Beanz was sort of a re-creation of many dinners we three (along with Kristen) shared. To say that it was a dinner filled with laughter and great conversation is not doing it justice. Our waitress welcomed me back and, even though the best dessert in Tallahassee in my opinion was not on the menu that night, it was a spectacular time. I miss this a lot too — drinking one glass of wine too many and talking a little too loudly about nothing of import!
So here I am surrounded by my things and sitting at my desk contemplating what I need to do to find a balance between missing people who know me so very well and being back in the northeast where I feel like I belong. When I met Larry (my son’s father-in-law) for lunch in Tallahassee, he reminded me again that I have to work hard to keep up relationships from a distance because my life has changed so much and my friends’ lives have not. I remain determined not to lose that closeness.