Can You See the Light From the Bridge?
First time reader? Start here. It’s good context for my story.
Know my story? Scroll down to the heading, Meet Rose.
Like my mom and my childhood, I am a mover. Sometimes I think it’s all I know. I like change, but I also crave stability. I like to refresh and renew, because I’m accustomed to exhausting myself. I like the balance in my life so I just continue on with the same pattern because, for years, it has worked for me.
In 2007, Pete and I were living in Illinois when he told me that CNBC wanted him to join their show, “Fast Money” in New York.
This proposal intrigued me! I realized there was a much bigger world out there that I wanted to see. I’m adamant about seeing all of the United States before other countries. I have been to a couple of other countries, but my interest lies within the red, white, and blue.
So, about a month after Pete told me about the job offer, we, as a family, ventured out to the Big Apple to check it out. I loved it! My world was expanding and I was so ready to fill up the new space. It was so exciting. Meeting new people is my jam and this was the place to fulfill that passion. New Yorkers had different accents. Their vernacular was cool. Their fashion was expensive, and something I had not been exposed to. I was comfortable there and I told Pete that he should take the job and I would do the rest.
I knew I could make new friends in whichever town we decided to settle in. Remember, I’m the social butterfly. I can talk with anyone. I looked at the East Coast move as just one more chapter in Lisa’s book of life.
By June of 2007, Pete had been working on CNBC for six months. He commuted back and forth from Chicago to New York, leaving on Monday and returning on Friday. Yuck! He traded in the stock market during the day from his apartment in Manhattan, and by 5 pm, was live on Fast Money from the NASDAQ in Times Square. This was the first time that he ever “traveled” for work. Though the kids and I religiously watched his show every night, we missed his physical presence in our home.
When the kids got out of school in June, they went up to Minneapolis to spend a week with Pete’s parents. I headed east to look for a place for the four of us to live. We had a friend in Western Springs who suggested we look in New Canaan, Connecticut. She had a sister who lived there and said it was a similar town to where we currently lived. So, I boarded a plane at O’Hare and flew to La Guardia.
The week prior, I mapped out all of the towns (remember, I’m a Virgo) that I wanted to see and found realtors in each town to show me some homes. Pete had a 12-hour day, and I used every hour he was away to search for that humble abode. I went from New Jersey to Connecticut and everywhere in between, looking for a community that would make the kids feel the most at home. My final choice was the town that my friend, Kathleen from Western Springs, suggested: New Canaan. Her sister who lived there had a daughter Lex’s age and my strategy was that she would have at least one friend when we moved there. So would I.
A Glimpse of New Canaan
New Canaan is an absolutely beautiful, quaint town that is about an hour and change to Manhattan. By train or by car, it’s almost the same amount of time to get there, depending on what time of day you go. The drive up on the Merritt Parkway is gorgeous. There are no trucks allowed on the Merritt. It’s a two-lane, tree-lined parkway that rivals the autobahn. No joke! The small bridges/overpasses that you have to drive under while heading north are old and antiquated, but beautiful. They were built so long ago that a truck or tall vehicle won’t fit underneath, hence the “no truck traffic’ rule.
We rented a home for the first two years before buying a home of our own. Pete’s initial contract at CNBC was for three years with a first year opt-out clause. We designed it that way in case we or our kids hated it there. It seemed to be fine after the first year, so we stayed.
Lex was just starting her year as an eighth grader, and Kole was in fourth grade when we arrived in July of 2007. All seemed well for all of us. The street that we rented on made it very easy to be social. On Friday nights when Pete was still at work, I would text all the moms on the street and ask if they and their kids wanted to come over for a BBQ and margaritas. No one says no to margaritas on a Friday night in New Canaan. No one!
The kids met other kids and I met other moms. By the time Pete rolled in from the train at 8 pm, other husbands started to filter down to our place.
We lived in New Canaan for seven years. Kole went to elementary school there and he and Lex both went to junior high and high school there. Each of them participated in sports and other activities, giving them the opportunity to have nice groups of friends. In typical form, I had friends that weren’t all from the same group. I met women along the way that I just gathered. I had many friends, but not all of them knew each other nor did they hang out with one another.
I had one friend in particular who was not a friend at “first sight” (let’s call her Rose). We met once at a birthday party, and then later she invited me to a Poison concert. She had four tickets, but one of her friends had to cancel so I slipped into that fourth spot by default. That night, I found Rose to be a kindred spirit. She was a rocker like I was! I couldn’t believe she knew all the lyrics to all the songs sung by Poison’s lead singer, Bret Michaels like I did! It was awesome. So, from then on, we were friends.
Rose was generous. Generous with her time, her money, and her compliments. I was bummed that she and I hadn’t met prior to this night but was happy that we had finally crossed paths.
Then a wrench was thrown into our friendship.
During the time I was getting to know Rose, Pete’s brother, Paul, was diagnosed with ALS.
After a short, two-year battle, Paul passed away at the age of 52. Paul was married with three young children. It was tragic. Everyone loved Paul. The Najarian men have a certain something that attracts so many people. It’s much like bees to honey. Paul and Pete, in particular, are this way. So, to say it was tragic really is an understatement.
By September, we as a family thought it would be best if we moved to Minnesota to be closer to Paul’s family and Pete’s parents who were approaching the last years of their lives. We moved on December 28th, 2014.
Rewind a few months
Back to the wrench. It was October when we told our New Canaan friends that we would be selling our home and heading to the Midwest. Rose was crushed. I was a bit taken aback by how broken-up she was to learn that we were moving. I was sad too, but she really had a difficult time.
I remember being at a birthday party with Rose a few weeks after we shared our news. All of a sudden, she buried herself in one of the bedrooms and was crying. Alcohol didn’t help the situation, but it took a lot to get her to stop. It was flattering, yet I felt so guilty.
A few days later, she invited me to an Alice Cooper and Motley Crüe concert at Madison Square Garden for Motley's farewell tour. Incidentally, we sat in the second row, center stage. It was amazing. Those tickets weren’t cheap. I couldn’t even the score, but Rose didn’t care. That was all part of her generous side. Then she got us tickets for Rock of Ages starring Constantine Maroulis. (Remember him from Season 4 of American Idol? The guy with the long brown hair who did the pinky-and-thumb-making-a-phone motion on screen to get people to vote for him? Yeah, that’s him, he was the star of the show.) This time we were front row, center stage, on Broadway, in the theater district of Manhattan. If you’ve been to a show in New York, you can picture this, right?
In the short time that we had together in New Canaan we made the best of it. I guess I should say that she made sure that we made the best of it. She was truly one of those friends who gave more than I did. Not because I didn’t reciprocate, she was just better at giving and quicker at it than I was.
We Moved to MN
Rose came out to visit me in the first year that we lived in Minnesota. Our friendship sustained the move and when my friend Tyanne graciously invited some of my Minnesota friends to her Florida home for my 50th birthday party, Rose was invited too.
She asked if she could bring her long-time friend who lived in Ohio. I thought it was a bit weird, but I allowed it because I didn’t want to be a jerk.
Rose and her long-time friend had a myriad of issues getting to Florida that weekend. Traffic issues, delayed flights, etc. By the time they got to all of us on the beach at Tyanne’s house, they were spent, and not in a very good mood when they walked through the door.
Remember that none of the women at the party knew Rose. Tyanne had met her once before when I took her to New Canaan, but beyond that, this was their first time meeting her. Rose did not make a good first impression. She came into a group of women who are about as chill as a Slurpee® from 7-11®. As the night went on, her attitude was off. She was snappy towards the other girls to the point of Tyanne bringing me into her bathroom for 45 minutes to vent. That is very atypical of Tyanne. Stuff like that doesn’t affect her the way it did that night.
Saturday brought more of the same stuff. The other women told me privately how floored they were with her attitude. It was unfortunate. Rose stepped into a group of us who had been friends for over 25 years, and this was not a group of women that you want to show your bad attitude to, especially when we’re celebrating a milestone birthday.
I take on others’ emotions and that weekend, I was overwhelmed with energy dragging me down. So on Saturday night, I confronted Rose. I said words that I don’t typically say. I believe some of the sentences started with, “How dare you!” Then I told—yes told, not asked—her to apologize to these women. At the airport on Sunday she did.
The lesson. There’s always a lesson.
Let’s look at this from a different angle. I, once again, became the mom of the group. I was telling, not asking. I was directing, not producing. I was acting out of emotion, not out of wisdom. Was I wrong? I don’t know. Was she wrong? I don’t know that either. What I do know is that I burned a bridge. I have burned many, but with this one, I felt the heat.
She retaliated on Facebook a bit. I took her posts as jabs at me, but that’s the “beauty” of Facebook, isn’t it? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) Someone can say something publicly, but keep it anonymous enough that you’re never quite sure who they're talking about.
My generous friend is gone forever. Do I miss her? Yes. Would I have handled the evening differently? Yes, maybe. In retrospect, I could’ve spoken more kindly to her. It’s my tone. It’s always my tone! Do I regret what happened? I’m not sure.
What I am sure about is that I have had many opportunities in life. I have taken advantage of most of them. I have used these opportunities and mistakes to grow, change, and try to better myself. I like balance and sometimes I have to burn a bridge before I can see the light.
I love that you were with me today. See you next week!
Lisa A.K.A Loopie