Yesterday afternoon Baby took a very short nap. The older two were still laying down, so I took her outside. It's not often I get one-on-one playtime with her. We were swinging when a neighbor's daughter comes walking down the road with her three boys. She's had some trouble, though I don't know the details. She's always seemed pretty sweet, but very quiet and kind of shy. Insecure, is probably a better word. You know that vibe you get from some people that just seems to say, "Please, don't be nice to me. I don't deserve it." ? That's what I get from her. Her parents live about three houses down and I see her there once in a while. On this day she is taking her boys for a walk and enjoying the peaceful sunshine of a Sunday afternoon, just as Baby and I are. I wave and smile as she passes my gate. She waves and smiles back, then steers the stroller carrying the youngest boy into the driveway. She's coming over to talk.
I hate to say it, but I cringed. I mean, this was the first time I ever felt like she actually might be interested in forming a friendship. But why today? My sweet one-on-one playtime with Baby had just started. Everything was quiet. I wanted to rest. I didn't want to engage. But I heard the Spirit nudging, telling me to suck it up and tune in.
"Hey, how are you?" I say, not remembering her name. Amy? Angela? Something with an A... "Your boys are getting so big!" And the chit chat begins. Her boys are 6, 5 and 18 months. The two older ones immediately head for the toys and take great joy in being somewhere new. I find out they are both in school. She has lost her job and had to move in with her parents. Before I know it, this girl is pouring out her heart. We start to relate and connect. And to say I was surprised is an understatement. Brother wakes up from his nap and comes outside with us, delighted to see boys in our yard. When Hubby comes home, I want to go in and talk with him before we head back to church. I haven't seen him since Friday night, and that was only briefly. But she obviously has no interest in leaving, so he goes inside with Baby and Sister and she and I continue to chat outside with the boys, sometimes not saying anything, but just sitting and observing. Her boys were so sweet, and she seemed to be such a great mom. I guess I was expecting something else.
Now I'm going to interrupt this touching heartfelt story to tell you about the crazy neighbors on the other side of me. The one directly west of me is an elderly widow. She is senile. We have tried to be friendly with her, but she is so mean and so out of touch, we choose to pretty much ignore her. Sad, but true. Directly west of her is a younger couple, about our age, with a 10 year old son. This mom often fights with Crazy Widow and the two of them take turns calling the police on each other. The last incident involved the mom mooning Crazy Widow. Suffice it to say, they've got issues. The younger couple have workmen in their yard replacing their lateral lines. This is driving Crazy Widow even more insane. While my new friend and I are outside with our boys, Brother sees Crazy Widow coming out in her yard to yell at Mooney Mom. I hear them going at each other and turn just in time to see Mooney Mom raise her shirt and shake her very large, pink brassier-ed (thank God she was wearing one!) ta-ta's at Crazy Widow. My seven-year-old saw the whole thing. Lovely.
Back to my story...
They were there about 2 hours. Her parents had come home and she said they needed to go back. "We'll be back in a little while," she said as she gathered her things. "Actually," I looked at the time, "we need to get ready to go to church. We'll be leaving in about fifteen minutes." "I really need to get them in church," she says about her boys. At this point I get a little of that unworthy vibe again. I am silent, knowing my church would be perfect for her, but not wanting to seem like a vulture. Perhaps she will want to plug in later. Right now she needs a friend. I turn to her boys. "Thanks for playing with us." And then I turn to her, "Please, come see us again." And you know what? I meant it.