Friday, February 08, 2013

Happy Birthday to Kathy

If you come here often, you know of my tortured relationship with Kathy. I've known her for 30 often awkward and troubled years. Oh, there were good times, too. Obviously. But Kathy is a very complicated woman with a very messy life and I think I bring out the worst in her.

Last year at this time I was done with her. Really, I was. But she refused to accept it. She kept giving me gifts, taking me places, even stayed for the entirety of my mother's visitation and service.

So I was left with a dilemma: how do I lose someone after 30 years without hurting her? I didn't want to be mean. I didn't want retribution. I certainly didn't want a scene -- there'd already been too much drama between us. I just wanted it over. But since she clearly values our friendship more than I realized, I decided to keep her in my life, albeit at arm's length.

And so that's why I sent her a birthday gift: a book that chronicled the 20th century evolution of the suburb where she raised her kids, and a refrigerator magnet that said, "HUGS" because that's how she always signs her letters and emails.

I'm happy and proud of how I handled this. The gift was obviously unique to her and it arrived on time for her special day. But since I mailed it, I'm able to celebrate her and still keep her at arm's length. For while she's earned a place in my life, I've earned the comfort and peace that comes with space.


  1. you are a wise women!

  2. Vivian took the words right out of my mouth. Wise.