She used to paint and decorate cakes. He used to work at the university. “His mind is still sharp as a tack. And he’s so strong, he wants to get better. He wants to keep going.”
They sounded like us. Art and Science married.
She seemed so nice. And I felt an ache to hear about her husband.
We’ve interacted with her more than any of our other neighbors. But that doesn’t mean we’ve spent tons of time together.
One night I was getting back from the grocery store and she was pulling up and getting her mail. I hadn’t seen her in a while so I called out and said Hello and asked her how she was.
We walked towards each other and she told me how her husband was in the hospital. My heart just sank for her. I hugged her and she cried.
We’ve talked a few more times.
A couple times about kids.
One time resonated so deeply.
Another time I felt a bit at a loss for what she said and how it applied to me.
(I over think. I over thunk it.) (Is thunk a word?)
And every morning I watch her drive away to go visit her husband -- a man she loves and she’s not sure will ever come back home. And every night I see her pull up to her house to sleep. And sometimes in the in between I watch her walk up her driveway. She hobbles. One hip seems crooked. But she’s strong. She keeps up with her garden -- this lovely dream of a flower bed -- across the street from my weed ridden disaster of a yard I hope to some day make lovely too.
On Instagram I follow a mom, new to her empty nest.
The images she captures to fill her space -- lovely and longing.
The deeply rooted picture I have in mind of my neighbor walking her driveway, and leaving and coming.
When it get’s very loud in here on days when I haven’t slept and I want to make everything stop…
I end up looking up from my chaos into the empty windows across the street.
And it dawns on my with stark clarity, it really won’t always be loud in here.
It’s been a hard transition into motherhood for me. I don’t think I’m naturally a mother. I like to mentor. But I’m not sure what to do with small people. It’s been harder and different than I thought it would be. I haven’t been the mom I envisioned I would be and that started the day the stick told me I’d have a baby.
I think since my kids hitting age 4 and age 2, that I’ve started to feel a bit like I can tread water now.
I wish I had know from the get-go: that the new-ness is just newness -- it’s not my forever state. That they do grow -- and that’s a good thing (not a wistful disaster) because then you can function again. It would have helped me have peace in the midst of when I thought I was downing -- because I would have known it’s not a forever ocean.
But now that I can tread water, I’m really excited to enjoy motherhood.
I’m getting a real kick out of my kids now. (Not every moment is enjoyable -- and there are a bazillion mundane moments all day long but) I’m just feeling more and more blessed lately by them.
And while I’m very sad for, and am praying for my neighbor, I’m grateful for her and that and her empty windows are in view of mine. They bolster me with more patience to try in the now because I know I don’t get to keep now. It hits home, because of our two homes, on one street looking at each other from different places.
|My neighbor’s house outside our kitchen window|
I want to stop trying so hard and start just loving it before it’s gone.