The house is quiet. I stand under the quiet whirring of a fan, in a new bedroom, folding new towels, in a new house, on a new street, in a new neighborhood. The girls are actually sleeping, exhausted from all the transitioning, the hubby working from a room down the hall, keyboard clicking away. Over the home, I feel a peace and contentment. Over the neighborhood, I feel bit lonely, missing our old rendezvous at the trampoline and hearing all the kids traipsing through our old backyard, heading home from school, shoulders laden with backpacks and voices chattering through the trees. I wonder if we’ll ever have that here in this new place. I wrestle discouragement over how most neighbors in America wave from the mailbox, half hour conversations in the middle of the street not a usual occurrence like on our old lane.
I hear voices outside, outdoor crying breaking the slow hum of our afternoon. I glance out my upstairs window to find a toppled red tricycle in the street in front of our house, and a little girl holding her knee close, tears watering our grass. Big brother bends over her, his own bike quickly discarded nearby. My instinct tells me to run out, but I hesitate, not wanting to scare a tiny, hurt girl even more by some stranger running out of her house, coming to the “rescue.” I watch one more moment, but my Mama heart can tell, this is not some “just-let-me-gather-my-senses,” little-girl fall. Those wails are ones of boo-boos that definitely need band-aids. I throw my hesitancy, along with the half-folded towel upon the bed, and run down the stairs and out the front door.
Big brother looks up. He’s holding a thermos over little sister’s knee, washing off blood and dirt. My heart melts in the Tennessee sun. I introduce myself through the hurt tears and ask how close they live and if she’d like a bandaid? Brown, tear-filled eyes find strength to nod and I run in and out again with Lisa Franks and Neosporin.
She stops crying.
“I didn’t know you had those bandaids,” little three-year-old girl says, pleased.
“Yes,” I say, smiling that something like glaring pink and purple can make a little girl so happy.
“Yes, I have two little girls and they just love these bandaids. My oldest is almost 5 and my youngest is 2 and they’re just dying to meet a little girl like you. They’re sleeping right now because we just moved in and they’re pretty tired, but you come back any time you want and they’d just love to play.”
Her eyes light up and I think I’ve just met my first true friend of the neighborhood. My heart brims.
I am learning that life is a constant ebb and flow and nothing, save One, ever stays the same. Marriages, friendships, neighborhoods, day-to-day living, they all change as life’s web is spun to contain all our Creator wants to give us. Change is exciting. It’s hard. It’s scary. It’s fun. And even though things change, they don’t have to change for worse. We hold on to all that was, everything and everyone still a part of us, forever. And we open hands and arms wide, accepting all the Lord still has for us. Moving does not mean you let go. It just means you hold those you love from a different angle.