Two years or so ago, I was out to there pregnant with my youngest, chasing a one and two year old, and working at a church’s nursery to make extra money.  I only worked on Wednesday but one Sunday, I was asked to cover a shift.  I left the kids at home with my husband and headed in to take care of a bunch of two year olds.

Sitting in the floor when I got there, a child curled tightly in her arms, sat a beautiful woman, clearly trying to comfort her daughter so she could go to church.

We got to talking and before we knew it, we were carrying on conversations like we had known each other forever.  This woman quickly became irreplaceable in my life.  A true friendship, born of similarities and embracing the differences, has grown to the point where I consider her very dear to me.

A few months ago she called me with the news that her husband was being transferred two hours away.  It does not seem that far… and yet it is eternity.  I put it in the back of my mind, unable to truly comprehend what it would be like not to have her close enough to drive to for play dates, a glass of wine, or just good conversations and support.

When I think of Heather, I picture her wearing my infant daughter, sound asleep on her chest, making lunch for my kids and her three, shooing me off to go rejuvenate.  I picture her showing up at my house and taking my kids to the park on a day when we got horrible news so that I could deal with things in peace.

I picture her sitting on the couch, laughing with me, sympathizing with me, understanding me… better than most people ever have.  And I picture her showing up on my doorstep, knowing I was deep in a depression, and dragging me and my children to the park.  Forcing me to let life back in…

I love the time we have spent together.  Even when my daughter vomited at her neighborhood pool and closed the whole thing down.  And when we had to leave an event because I could not get my other two to calm down.  So many memories.  So many moments.  So many hugs hello and good bye.  So much love and admiration for her.

I hope I have been a good friend to her too.  Though I don’t ever think I’ll be able to repay all that she has given me.

I know she is “just moving”.  I know that it is “just two hours away”.  And I know that with social media, we may never really feel like she left.  Plus she is moving to the city my parents live in.  So I will be there to visit.  But in my heart, in that spot that she and her friendship are tenderly tucked into, it hurts.  Because we both know that we are not “right down the street” anymore.

I wonder if it is like this for every stay at home mother?  That we cherish our friendships so deeply that it feels like a real loss when distance, for whatever reason, enters the picture?

In any event, I know Heather will always be in my life.  I adore her and her beautiful children and my husband and hers are friends as well.  But the dynamics will have to change and we will have to get creative.

But when you have a dear friend like I have in her, the extra efforts to keep it strong are well worth it!

Have a safe and peaceful move, my friend.  I will miss you here… but I will always love you no matter where you are!