Sometimes you don’t know who is missing in your life until you meet her. Once I had moved into the city apartment with my daughter, I lost my young mother friends from the country. But shortly after moving in, I met my neighbor, Kathy, who lived in a house next to our apartment building. She was my age, a single parent, and she had a biracial little boy almost exactly the same age as my daughter. Our children hit it off immediately, both mischievous and creative, content to play a long time in the courtyard.
Kathy and I swapped stories about life, love, work and parenting. Our special late afternoon treat was a can of Olympia Light beer. I’m not sure how we settled on it, but it was cheap, low calorie and tasty enough. We would drink a can, sitting on the porch step and watch the kids play. Occasionally, we would go wild and have TWO Olympia Light beers. Neither of us had two nickels to rub together, so that was a big splurge.
Kathy watched my daughter when she had to miss school for an illness. I watched her son in turn. She shared the house next door with a lovely man, but they were truly just friends, she being as reluctant to jump into another relationship as I was. Eventually though, proximity won out, friendship turned to love and they married. They remained together until her recent death from cancer, a disease she had struggled with for at least 20 years.
She came into my life at the perfect time, and I like to think I did the same for her. “I know I’ll often stop and think about her.”