Monday, December 29, 2014

Cup of Sugar Neighbors

Growing up I had family, and lots of it.  I don't think I thought much of it till I grew up and moved away.  I had grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins literally within walking distance.  I had family at both the school and church we attended-dad and mom's side.  We had Wednesday Night supper at my grandma's house nearly every week.  My kids don't have that.

My kids do, however, have surrogate family.  There are some people in our lives who have stepped in and been the close proximity family we don't have.  In our old neighborhood we were good friends with both of our next door neighbors and knew/visited often with several other neighbors.  One of our next door neighbors were Cup of Sugar Neighbors.  Literally.  When we had to make the decision to move, it was so hard.  I tried every way possible to figure out a way to stay in that house with our growing family, but it wasn't to be.  I dreaded moving to a new neighborhood and not having my Cup of Sugar Neighbors anymore.

What is a Cup of Sugar Neighbor?  Its a neighbor you can go to at any time of the night or day and ask for anything and they'll gladly help.  Its the neighbor who comes over at 3am to help you with a screaming baby who you're at your wits end with and your husband is working.  Its the neighbor who trusts you to watch out for their kids while they're at work and the kids are on the cusp of needing/not needing childcare...but knowing you are home lets them be home on a snow day.  Its the neighbors who give you their garage code so that you can borrow some eggs when you're in the middle of baking and you run out.  And five years later I still miss those neighbors.  We still see them, but it isn't the same.  Just thankful we've stayed friends.

So we move to our new neighborhood.  Slowly we get to know people and of course it is hard.  We have Rosebud literally 9 days after moving in.  We don't want to bother anyone, and our kids are kinda loud.  But our neighbors on either side are very welcoming.  I'm going to focus on one of our next door neighbors.  Soon after we had Rosebud Janet brought over a brand new crocheted baby blanket.  She talked to the boys through the fence and gave them peanuts in the shell-something they'd never had before.  She and her husband baked gluten free cookies when LMM couldn't eat wheat.  They were one of the only neighbors that first Halloween to even know that it WAS Halloween.  Janet would come over and watch the kids if I ever had an emergency.  Like the time Sweet Pea put a pencil through her ear and Rosebud was in bed sick so I couldn't take her with me to the ER.

Fast forward through the last five years and just thinking about it makes me cry.  Because Janet died yesterday.  Unexpectedly.  And we are totally and utterly devastated.  This isn't a move to another town and a different friendship.  This is goodbye.  And I'm not ready.

 I'm remembering a crocheted baby hat for Sweet Pea and Rosebud's doll-because it was too small to send to the hospital where she sent baby hats for new arrivals.  Another baby blanket a few weeks ago for our newest arrival who doesn't even have a blog name yet.  Hundreds of peanuts passed through the fence to eager little hands.  She bought them to feed the squirrels.  Rosebud often "helped" Miss Janet do laundry-I'm sure she chatted poor Janet's ear off.  She was the first person this Christmas (we celebrated 2 weeks early) that LMM wanted to show off his bike to.  She always had time to see his latest LEGO creation.  Snug hates math, but Janet was a retired math teacher.  She always encouraged him to do his best and she volunteered with struggling math students after she retired.  She had little cups to pass out drinks when it was hot, bandaids to put on scrapes both imagined and real-even bought the kind with pictures on.  She was always generous with hugs, her time, and her patience...especially when she knew I was OUT of hugs, time, and patience.  She took the time to talk to me when I was at my very most frazzled.  She had a special relationship with Rosebud who always seems to need more than I have to give.  She even would push the kids on the tire swing, and swing herself.  And I'm going to miss her so bad.

You don't always have Cup of Sugar Neighbors.  I've been blessed to have them more than once.  And this loss hurts so bad.  And it is hurting my kids.  I know this spring when they go out to play they are going to have a void-because nearly every time they went out to play she would come over to say "hi", give hugs, and invite them to play with her dog in the backyard.  I can't even imagine what her husband is going through.  My heart especially aches for him.  He is also a wonderful neighbor and I hope somehow we can help him through this horrible time.

Take the time to be someone's Cup of Sugar Neighbor.  You never know how much it might mean to them.  Mine have meant the world to me.