I've moved a lot in my short adult life - Champaign for three years, Bloomington for a year, Madison for two years, Gainesville for two years, and now Champaign for four whole years. I'm reminded this week why that is sweet and yet bitter.
As I walked through the grocery store on Monday, I ran into a couple of girls who I've met over my years here, and we caught up, oohed and ahhed over how big the kids are. I recognize the clerks, I know the brands, I know where to find my favorite foods. Seeing people I know around town is a wonderful side effect of being kind of permanent. It takes a while, but it's oh so sweet!
Yesterday, I heard that one of our neighbors is terminally ill. She's got a little dog that the girls love to pet, and a driveway that they love to run and bike on too. Two years ago, she was the picture of glamour, hardly looking a day over 70 (80-something in fact). We've lived in our current place for two years now, and we've gotten to know the neighbors in our tiny cul-de-sac. Many (most) of them are over 80 years old. Getting to know them has really been great, a whole demographic I rarely interact with otherwise. But almost all of them have gone from fairly healthy to struggling with major health issues since we moved in. Even though I know that they are older, and it's how life goes, it still hurts a little bit of my heart to see them going downhill so quickly.
Only when you stick around somewhere for a while do you find friends and become a part of the community. But only when you stick around do you lose friends and feel their pain.
Permanence is bittersweet.