The Neighbor

grandma  My grandparents died while I was in grad school. And my hubby only had one grandma left when we met and she died while I was pregnant with Hannah. So the girls haven’t had a lot of time around older people and I am so sad that my grandparents didn’t get to know them. When we moved into our neighborhood one of the things that worried me is that the neighborhood didn’t have a ton of young families in it. I really didn’t want to move into a new subdivision packed with young families per se, but I wanted some kids around for my kids to have as playmates. Instead, the neighborhood is very mixed leaning more towards the empty nest variety. People way closer to my grandparents age than to mine.

Immediately upon moving in, Lily latched on to an older lady next door. She is by far the veteranof the neighborhood giving us the history of all the families that have lived in our housebefore us and telling us all about our neighbors. She raised her family in the house she still lives in and is a link to the past. She has been widowed quite some time and lives with her daughter who seems to be in her 40s and has Down’s Syndrome. But she is really active, always out in her yard planting and tending to her garden. Sometimes I even see her mowing her lawn when one of her kids is late coming by to do so.

She is a wonderful woman who always has a wave and a friendly word when you see her. She gave us a very generous gift when Hannah was born despite not knowing us very well. She has also given Lily a few little stone garden creatures out of her yard when Lily noticed them and expressed how much she likes them. In short, she is just the kind of “great grandma” the girls need.

Last week, we heard sirens and saw a fire engine pull up in front of her house. Since I knew there didn’t appear to be a fire I was concerned as to what may have happened. We sat out on the front steps watching, trying not to be nosey, but concerned nonetheless at what had gone wrong. The girls immediately got very concerned and we talked about how she had lived a long life and we weren’t sure what was wrong, but that really all we could do was pray. So pray we did. Soon an ambulance came as well as two of her daughters. We inquired to what was wrong and they told us that our neighbor’s heart had been bothering her and she had called 911. It was totally unclear to us how serious the situation was. We saw them wheel her out on a gurney with an oxygen mask on and take her in the back of the ambulance and it pulled away.

Lily is so much like me in so many ways. The most obvious is in looks, but as she grows I am noticing she has some other qualities of my personality. She isn’t a snuggler, isn’t the first to show her emotions, like Hannah who can’t stop hugging you and telling you she loves you. When you get an “I love you” or a “You’re a great mommy,” you know you have earned it. She seems to dislike any display of emotion getting clearly frustrated when she cries over a movie or something else sad. But she is very sensitive to when other’s are hurting and rather than wearing her feelings on her sleeve tries to distract herself or find something tangible to do to help.

But that night when my neighbor’s ambulance pulled away, Lily went up to her room and wrote down a prayer.

God, ples help [neighbor]. I love you. Sorry I pod (should be pushed, but she said she didn’t want to write it out) Hannah. Thack you for gitting home safe. Amen. July 7, 2009.

She laid the prayer by her bed and went to sleep. The next day, upon confirming with our neighbor’s children that she was OK, Lily sprang into action. She got out all her craft supplies and made an elaborate get well card. Then she insisted that we bake some cookies. Who am I to stop a young girl’s need to love on our neighbor. We baked cookies together and my girls got dressed up in their finest princess attire. We brought cookies and get well cards over and my girls faces beamed just as much as my neighbor when she got to the door. The bounced up and down, excited to share their gift and in return their love with this wonderful woman. And I got to see my girls be Jesus for just a moment that day to the lovely old woman who lives next door. That is if Jesus wore a tiara and plastic princess shoes.

This post was submitted for Garibay Soup’s new Monday carnival “Just a Motivating Monday”.


  1. My hormones are crazy but that story was so beautiful, I cried. What a wonderful relationship your daughter are creating with that neighbor!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..11 (long) weeks =-.

  2. What a wonderful story. I have no doubt that your neighbor loves living next to you just as much as you obviously love living next to her. As I was growing up we had an older retired couple next door. My only grandparent was several states away so I jumped at the chance to spend time with that wonderful couple. They were always happy to see me at their door and were so kind and understanding. When Mrs. A. passed a few years ago (after being widowed several years before) I purchased a set of chairs from her estate. I now have them in my living room and think of her each day when I see them. I remember them sitting in her formal living room and how special it was to be invited to sit in one of them. Thanks for sharing your story and helping me remember mine!
    .-= Lazy Mom Leslie´s last blog ..Chicken a la Can =-.

  3. What a sweet story. Great read. Wonderful!

  4. What better way to learn than to serve. Awesome story. I love it!
    .-= Alyssa´s last blog ..Sweet Comfort =-.

  5. That is the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I’m bawling at the image of your princesses dressed up and showing love to her!!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..How Quickly Things Change =-.

  6. What an amazing blessing your girls were. They obviously have beautiful hearts.

  7. How sweet! I love the picture of Jesus in a tiara. :)

    By the way, you have inspired me to work on my girls’ rooms this week. You can see by my latest blog post that I’ve already gotten started…
    .-= Amy Warden´s last blog ..Project Week: Day One =-.

  8. That is such a sweet prayer; this story makes me miss our neighbor before we moved, Sylvia. She cried when we were packing up, she hated to see us go….there just is nothing like a wonderful neighbor….now I really miss her. I loved this story and how you just went along with your daughters’ plan and helped them to cheer your neighbor up; so awesome.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Blogoversary Giveaway: Day Two! =-.

  9. We have recently moved into a neighborhood that sounds similar to yours. And it encourages me to stretch a little beyond my comfort zone or I may miss out on a great relationship with our very own neighborhood great grandma
    .-= jubilee´s last blog ..Ransome’s Honor by Kaye Dacus – A Review =-.

  10. wow, thanks for sharing this. :)
    .-= Erin G´s last blog ..A New Chapter Begins… =-.

  11. I do believe that Jesus would wear a tiara & plastic princess shoes if that’s what it took to show His love to someone. … :) and He did through your lovely daughters. Keep up the wonderful parenting job.
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Walk this way …. =-.

  12. I cried too, and I dont have a hormonal excuse. :)

    You must be doing something right as a mom if your girls want to help and care for others :)
    .-= melinda joy´s last blog ..UPrinting Sticker Giveaway =-.

  13. I cried too, and I dont have a hormonal excuse. :)

    You must be doing something right as a mom if your girls want to help and care for others :)

  14. So sweet … go ahead & pat your back on that one b/c you’ve obviously taught your little girls well:)
    .-= mandi´s last blog ..I’d rather be sick =-.

  15. I’m tearing up – this is beautiful!
    .-= Heather H´s last blog ..Monday’s Menu: Turnips =-.

  16. I love how God puts people on our paths that aren’t necessarily related by blood, but they still become family.

  17. OMGoodness! What an amazing story :) Thank you so much for participating in my new carnival.

    It sounds like you have an amazing neighbor. I’m glad that she’s okay.

  18. So, so beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Of all of your posts I’ve ever read ~ I think this one is my favorite. :)

    I’m glad to hear your neighbor is ok too!!

    I saw you at Barnes & Noble yesterday with your girls. You looked adorable :) If you and the girls get bored, feel free to walk my way sometime (you could even drop them off and go home and put your feet up!).

    Blessings to you!
    Cindy :)
    .-= Cindy Bultema´s last blog ..Our Prayer Focus Begins! ~ My First Prayer =-.

  19. Denise says:

    Aww! How sweet! Thanks for sharing the story.

  20. “And I got to see my girls be Jesus for just a moment that day to the lovely old woman who lives next door. That is if Jesus wore a tiara and plastic princess shoes.”…
    OK, that totally just made me teary-eyed! Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.

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