Meet the Neighbors

I worry a lot.

Not the “keep you up at night, can’t eat” kind of worry, but I worry nonetheless.

I worry about homeschooling – am I giving her what she needs?

I worry about time – am I paying enough attention to her?

I worry about love – does she know how much she means to me and how important she is?

And I worry about friends – does she have enough? Are they good kids? Kids I want around my child?

That last one is a doozy, especially since we were moving away from everything Emily had ever known. Would there be children in our new neighborhood? Would they be friendly? Would they be kids I would want my child spending her days with?

I worried…a lot…just as I had when she turned three and suddenly was aware of others, people who were her size and fun to be around. At that point, her little friend Brooklynn was only a year old and completely uninterested in playing (as most children that age are). God, how I worried! From those early days I recognized how outgoing and friendly she was – how much she needed others – and the seeds of doubt were sown. How could I even think of keeping her from school and the hordes of agemates waiting to play with her?

I shouldn’t have worried. It worked out – and I watched my little butterfly blossom in the company of others – from the tweens across the street, to the nine-year-old neighbor boy, and finally to Brooklynn who began showing an interest in play a year or so later. The two bonded, despite their 20 month age gap, just as Emily had bonded with the older children.

And now, just three months into our new digs, I find myself smiling at that worried mom from a few months ago. The one who asked herself just what in the hell she thought she was doing to her poor little girl – ripping her away from friends and neighbors that she loved.

Meet the neighbors…

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Anthony, age 10, and his little brother, David, age 8, are one of Emily’s #1 choices when looking for someone to play with. Anthony is a great kid, very outgoing, helpful and thoughtful. His brother David is a little more reserved, but also willing to help and include Emily is activities.

It helps that we do wild things like dig ponds, keep chickens and bees, and build “campfires” in our back yard. They think we are all pretty cool.

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Ysanne (left), is nine years old. She does not live nearby, but her sister and grandmother do, and she will be spending most of every weekday during the summer here. When Dave drove up with a van full of wood boards to be unloaded, she pitched in to help. She is quite polite and thoughtful.

Maria (right) is six years old and lives in the apartments across the street from our house. Maria has a little difficulty communicating – she is the eldest child of two (infant baby sister) and neither of her parents speak English. I am afraid I talk too fast for her and that she has trouble understanding me. But she absolutely adores Emily, and was her first friend in the neighborhood.

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And I believe this young man’s name is Jerry. He showed up and started digging on the pond last Wednesday. Like the other boys, he is quite helpful and he helped to sculpt the volcano that will be just one of the many interesting pond-side features!

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I do not remember this young man’s name. He was the other volcano architect.

Now that winter has had its final laughs (it damn well better be done!) I am looking forward to a glorious spring, summer and fall – filled with laughter, happy kids, and maybe even a few more hot dog roasts.

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Every single one of these kids is truly a treasure. And my fears have been abated. My kiddo has good friends to share her free time with – kids that will be good friends, and show her kindness.

Whew! So that’s one worry off my list! Now I can return to worrying about homeschool, time, love, and all the rest. Those are a full-time job all by themselves!

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