My best friend from college is a jewel. God surely blessed me fifteen years ago when He gave me her as a roommate and friend for life. She is a librarian and shares my love of reading. Actually, she reads much more than I do and I’m jealous. She has an amazing husband, an amazing home and an amazing heart. She also has three of the most beautiful children I’ve ever seen. She is a tech wizard and an orphan advocate, both things I admire greatly about her. Our lives have dragged us five hours away from each other, so we rarely get to sit around and giggle like we did in the old days, but thanks to social media, I do get to see her sweet face every day if I want to. And sometimes, the world spins right again and we actually get to visit each other. But most of the time, we just randomly text each other with quickly detailed moments of our lives and often use a phrase that she coined a while back which quickly became our mantra: “…if I was your neighbor.” I think the first time she said it I was complaining about something and she said she would come help me if only she was my neighbor. And then it just kind of stuck. Anytime we are doing something fun or hard or just missing each other that phrase usually comes up. And while I know that she’ll never really be my neighbor, I also know with confidence that she would fit right in here. I am blessed with a whole street of good neighbors. A whole cul de sac of incredible people who inspire me every day. People who literally love my children as their own and always have my back. There is one who ALWAYS looks like a super model [some girls have all the luck, huh? ;)] and her heart is 100 times prettier than that. She arbitrarily shows up with desserts and kind words. She is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known and she tells me I’m pretty so often that I’m starting to think it might be true. Yes, yes you should definitely be jealous that she’s not your neighbor. I’m keeping her, so don’t get ideas! Next door to her and directly to the right of me are more people that I’m lucky to call friends, a couple whose love of life and family eeks out into everything they do. The husband is a fireman in New Orleans, a fact that even without his amazing personality gains him my love and admiration. The Minis and I had the pleasure of meeting the firemen who worked the accident (not my neighbor, a different group of firemen). I became friends with one of them and he, upon my insistence, told me the details of their ride to the hospital that day. I can’t find words to share that with you yet- it’s still a very raw hurt – but suffice it to say that I have a profound respect for firemen and other first responders. What they do matters, y’all. They make a real difference in this world. That is precisely why I want to hug my neighbor every time I see him and tell him thank you from the bottom of my heart. There’s a different reason why I want to hug his wife every time I see her. On the day after the accident, she showed up at the hospital with a copy box full of love. She handed it to me in the hallway outside the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, told me how sorry she was, and said, “Here, you’ll need this. Call us if you need anything else!” and then she left. I didn’t have time to process how she even knew about the accident yet before she was gone. I didn’t learn until days later why she had made her visit so quick and to the point – parents in the midst of a medical emergency do not have time nor energy to chit chat. That fact and what was in the box tells me that she’s been there and done that. You wouldn’t believe the thoughtful treats in that box, anything you can imagine possibly wanting to snack on while stuck in a waiting room, plus some! We carried that box around for 40 days, to two different hospitals, and three different rooms. I fed hungry nurses and doctors, devastated friends and family (of mine, and of other patients), and my soul with that box. It was a blessing. She was a blessing. I don’t even think I’ve ever told her thank you for that; I hope she can see it in my eyes every time I wave to her or feel it in my grip every time I hug her. Directly to my left is another couple. They are resiliency personified and sprinkled with beauty. The husband has had stage four cancer since I’ve known him (probably about 5 years now). He does this
with tubes hanging from his belly. And this
when his hair has fallen victim to the chemo yet again. Their yard is a peaceful sanctuary of flowers and love. Trust me when I tell you that my photography does not do it justice at all. He’ll tell you about the cancer, if you’re not in a hurry and want to talk, but you’ll never hear him complain. He makes me feel fortunate. And lazy. His illness tells on him – you can always tell when he’s doing treatments because he just looks weak and tired. But he’s always in his yard, or my yard, or the yard of another single mom a few houses down, planting flowers, cutting trees, or pulling weeds. And his little wife is right behind him, talking a million miles a minute, joking and gossiping like cancer isn’t trying to kill her best friend. They take daily bike rides together and pray together. They make me want to grow old with someone. Or at least bike ride with someone. Right after the accident, while both of my babies were struggling to live, on one of only two trips I made home for a few hours, he stood in my front yard, looking worn and sincere, and told me that he and his wife had been to church every morning to pray for my children. I cried at his sacrifice. Surely it must have hurt to walk with four drain tubes in his stomach, but he made special trips to the church for my babies anyway. I have a feeling he understood the power of prayer while struggling to survive. I am humbled that he put my kids’ needs before his own. So yea, my BFF would fit right in here. Her heart for orphaned children is just the kind of hearts that live on this street. All that love and inspiration and sacrifice and beauty from all these amazing people is right here at my doorstep. It’s no wonder the Minis are going to be world changers – they are surrounded by incredible examples!
We are so blessed.