When Austin was in the 2nd grade, we moved from the fort to the bay, across an imaginary dividing line in our town. This meant moving him from the elementary in the village to the elementary in the bay...another imaginary dividing line. He made new friends, and was then reunited with old friends when they all "graduated" to the 3-5 school. By the time middle school rolled around, adults often commented that Austin was like the mayor - he knew everyone, and could navigate the crowd with ease. A small group of friends emerged - a group of 6 boys with shared interests, and parents who became friends. I often referred to our group as "the Circle of Six"...six families whose lowest common denominator was our boys. All of the older children filled in the blanks, so most years included first driver's licenses, proms, graduations, and various other milestones. Weekend days typically found us at one or two sporting events, and weekend nights rotated between houses. We'd often leave the kids at one house, and pour wine for the adults at another. We celebrated with each other, and we supported each other. We sent our oldest kids off to university, and commiserated about how quickly time was passing by.
A few years ago, I gave the other 5 moms a copy of Katrina Kenison's An Ordinary Day. It was an olive branch of sorts, as I was feeling the circle getting a bit wider. Our boys were growing up, and their social circles were getting bigger. There were job changes, parent deaths, injuries & illness, family challenges, new houses, and learning to parent the "kids" who were no longer kids...in other words, the adults were growing up, too. Just before I told the kids that their Dad and I were getting a divorce, I emailed the Circle. I asked for their understanding, their support, and essentially...their forgiveness. I was breaking the circle. It was heartbreaking to find that what really happened is that I left, and the circle just got a little smaller...
This is all came to the surface again as I read Katrina's next book, Magical Journey. My first thought was that I wanted to...I really HAD TO...gift it to the Circle of Six. It's not an olive branch this time, as I'm finally forgiving myself. I didn't do anything wrong. Instead, I did the hard, and right, thing. I made the best choice that I could for myself, and for my family. As Katrina writes, "Some doors close gently, others slam shut, shaking the house to its foundation. Some stories unfold predictably and others careen toward surprise endings."
And so, I'm sharing these books with the former Circle....sending them along with light, love, gratitude, and the awareness that we're all just doing the best that we can.