When I bought this house, I was pregnant with Beezus. At the closing, the selling agent was pregnant too, and as it turned out, she lived right next door to the house we just bought. We both had girls. And the day she told me she was pregnant with her second child, I called her to come and stay with Beezus. Lucy hadn't moved in a while, and I went to the hospital and found out she was dead. She walked every step of this grief with me. It wasn't the way we imagined living next door to one another would be, but I couldn't ask for a better neighbor and friend. She isn't sappy, but she doesn't shy away from conversation. When Thor was born, she gave me a necklace with all my babies' names on it. And we cried together. Our boys are eight months apart, which seems huge right now, but one day, one day that won't be a big deal at all.
The girls, though, are becoming friends in a way that I couldn't imagine happening so quickly. They want to hang out all the time. I can already foresee them playing after school together. Beezus is four, and all she talks about is A. next door. If she hears a squawk from the girl next door, she is at the window, shoes on, wanting to get her bike out, or her rollerskates, or just to run alongside her while she plays. Finally, they are at an age where the girls play together without parents, call to each other from over the fence and just go play. No hovering. No dates. Just ordinary kids, kicking dirt, or whatever. I always wanted that for my kids. Just to have a space for them to be kids, and hang out with neighbors and discover whatever it is they are supposed to be.
Today, we were planting vegetables in the front beds when the neighbors pulled in. A. tottered over and asked to play with us, and I said sure, and her mama said, "Just send her home later." But I gave them tools, and watering cans. And they followed behind me like little goslings, and asked me questions. And we planted everything we bought. We dug out weeds. We watered. I wore Thomas Harry on my back in the Ergo, and the girls shared tools like they were growing up and trying to get along, and I felt this sense of deep serenity and peace being around both of them. Little girl energy is good. We talked about our favorite plants, and we all decided where to plant the zucchini--between the butterfly bush and the lilac--because why not, really?
When we needed to go in for dinner, she followed us. I texted her mother and told her that A. could stay longer, if she wanted. We all decided on food that we all like. They painted pictures while I cooked, and then they asked to play upstairs. I said, "Of course." And they scurried up the stairs, then I screamed after them, "Just please come when I call you for dinner, girls."
My heart was pounding and the room was spinning. I leaned against the island. Fuck. I had two girls, not just one perfect little girl who likes unicorns and pink and kisses on her eyelids. I had two girls.
I always imagined myself saying, "Girls, time for dinner." Girls, I love you.