Where I grew up does not feel safe for me. I lived in West Philly longer than I did where I grew up and in my heart it will always be my home. I don’t live far from West Philly now, about seven or so miles but it feels like light years with busy lives in the city. With one of my West Philly family in the hospital I felt like I needed to go and physically be in West Philly today. My bike blew a tire coming and going to the hospital so I went to the Firehouse Bikes to have the tire fixed, knowing my husband was going to be gone all weekend. I then walked to the Mariposa Food Co-Op as my bike was being fixed to get Aaron soy ice cream for the birthday dinner we are finally having for my husband tomorrow. As I walked down Baltimore Ave I ran into an old co-worker and I had the urge to text my old friend W who actually owns the house we lived in together over twenty years ago.
I texted her and she and her thirteen year old daughter were just coming home from a craft show. I asked her if we could stop by and she quickly said, yes! My boys arrived at the door and simultaneously declared, DRUMS. W is a person in my life who I know loves my kids. Like I have said before there are those who adore Ryan and Aaron and their energy and there are those who do not. I remember when W met my kids at the beach. She spent a ton of time with an almost three year old Ryan as I chased a nine month old Aaron who never crawled but scooted, around the beach. W is a patient and fiercely smart and well read soul. Her daughter reminds me so much of her! Sitting at her kitchen table, sipping seltzer, while the boys darted between the pond, the drum kit, and her daughter was exactly what I needed.
I asked her where her husband was and she said, I am not sure yesterday he was in Belgium, today it is either Scotland or Berlin! His band is on tour and she is solo parenting for the long haul. I was solo parenting for the night, talk about feeling like a lameo.
I saw ghosts of my dog and her long gone dog in her house and our roomates and loves of the past. I also saw her daughter, the future who happens to be poised, smart, and cool with amazing orange hair at thirteen. I left her house like I would when you leave home, with a ball to make homemade ice cream and soy ice cream, a “holy basil” plant that I can put in a pot and have indoors over the winter, and a subscription to some talking books which the kids and my husband love.
I really needed that visit today. I hope she knows how much that visit centered me.