Yesterday was such a sweet day with the neighbor kids.
I biked to the market early–an obvious choice in this heat–and then was home cleaning, chopping vegetables to freeze, and cooking for the rest of the day. Since I was there for some time, I let the kids keep the basket of toys outside and play on the porch. They played happily through the morning, with different kids coming in spurts.
At one point, it was just little Yuh Meh Oo out there, who just loves to be near us. I played two games of cards with her, and then showed her I would leave the door open so that she could play and see me while I cleaned. I then continued to sweep the house while she so sweetly laid out all the little dolls and bears, rocked each one, whispered in their ears, and gave them a kiss goodnight.
I really love any time I have with Yuh Meh Oo. She is just such a sweetheart and is so gleeful when I give her my attention.
Later, I gave the kids some crayons and paper to color–their favorite–while I worked in the kitchen. Yuh Meh Oo, again preferring to be where I was, came around to our back door to sit on the step and color there. I opened the door for her, so that she could sit on the step and color on the floor of the kitchen.
And then fifteen more came around, and soon, they were oozing into the kitchen.
Sometimes, I know how important the boundaries are. But other times, it seems that breaking the boundaries speaks so loudly to them–they see us welcoming them into our lives, loving on them, and giving them special privileges.
…As I did this time.
I let them ooze into the kitchen and “color” while they looked around. They just sit on the floor and take it all in.
And then one little girl got brave and reached out to touch a magnet on the fridge.
It came off, and she looked surprised.
She went to put it back, clearly felt the pull of the magnet, and looked at me with wide eyes, letting out a gasp.
And before too long, I had about twelve little girls crowded around the fridge pulling our magnets on and off in awe.
It was so, so lovely. Because it really is the simple things.
One of the girls knew a little bit of English, and she asked about a photo on the fridge. It was of my friend Kim & I. First they thought I was Kim, then they asked if it was my sister. When we finally got across that she was my friend, I pointed to the picture of Stephen’s family on the fridge. I showed them Stephen & I, then pointed out each sister, his mom, and his dad.
They LOVED it. And the loved all the babies, Laura & Leslie! They would point to the kids and say, “Sister baby?”
And then they asked about my family, so I showed them a photo and again pointed out each sister and my parents. They loved this, too. And couldn’t believe you have four kids, Janel. We counted them three times.
Before too long I had to go meet a friend and told them it was time to go. But I loved it–I loved showing off our families, and I loved explaining a piece of our lives to them.
One girl said very clearly as she walked out the door, “I am happy. Thank you, teacher.”
My thoughts exactly.