JJ the organizational whiz tries to brainwash the #2 son into liking her alma mater, the University of Kansas.
We’re extremely fortunate that we live in a close-knit subdivision in our master-planned community, which is marathon distance southwest of Houston. We not only know most of our neighbors, but we like them, too. They’ve got our back, and we, of course, have theirs.
Most of us have lived in our neighborhood for at least a decade, and we’ve watched each other’s kids growing up. When the weather is nice, we like to sit outside together and revel in the comfortable feeling that comes with warm, genuine friendship.
The neighbors crowd around JJ and Bill as they look at photos.
Last Sunday that friendship was once again on display, but this time it had a bittersweet tinge to it. Our dear, cherished next-door neighbors—JJ the organizational whiz, her husband Bill, and their kids Lindsey (a sophomore at the University of Kansas) and Michael (who graduates early from high school this week and will attend KU next fall)—are leaving our little nest. They’re moving back to Kansas City, Kansas (JJ already is there to set up their new house a mile from her mom and one of her brothers). Back to family and old friends. Back to being close to their beloved alma mater.
Bill and JJ check out a local wine in their Remember Texas bag.
We’re happy that they’re going back to the comforts of home after what’s been a very difficult year. A year that started with so much promise for them became one of shock as JJ’s much-loved father, Dick Jones, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the spring and sadly passed away in October. No one can blame them for feeling the tug from their other favorite state.
Grace photographs her three girls with JJ and Bill.
But no one can blame us for wanting at least a few more years with such wonderful neighbors. Living next door to them for almost 11 years has been terrific! We’ve talked a lot, laughed even more, and shared lunches, dinners, tears, getting toilet paper out of their trees, highs, and lows. Our #1 son and Michael, who are the same age, became good pals in elementary school and had great fun together before drifting apart. We’ve relished the chance to watch Michael and Lindsey growing up to be fine young adults.
Marcel, Bill, the Mister, and Vic stand around.
I remember one Saturday years ago when we were taking the boys and Michael to see “Snow Dogs.” All of a sudden, JJ and Bill popped into our minivan. They wanted to see it, too!
The Mister, who owns a box company, inspects the moving boxes.
That’s what I’ll miss most about our neighbors moving: That sense of spontaneity. I loved it when I would call JJ or she would text me wanting to go to lunch at the spur of a moment. Can’t do that now . . . KC is a little too far to meet up at Chipotle or Quizno’s. I’ll also miss the heart-to-heart talks and discussing our hopes and fears when it came to our kids. Oh, and those catty chats, too! We did sharpen the nails a time or two!!
The ever-shy JJ and the #2 son hug goodbye.
Fortunately, in this day and age it’s so easy to stay in touch. E-mail and Facebook can’t replace that day-to-day contact, but they do take the sting out of moving away from long-time friends. They’re the next best thing to being there!
JJ, Bill, and their kids will always be in our hearts. JJ and I are forever friends; our destinies always will intertwine. I hope we never lose that sense of closeness that we’ve felt since March of 1999 when we first met on my driveway. I knew in an instant that she was someone I’d always want to be friends with.
Surprising weather news catches JJ off guard!
I sure hope JJ feels the same way when I text her every day this winter about how much warmer it is here while she’s freezing her butt off in Kansas City!