Since I am away these days with only moments to steal at a laptop I thought I would add a post that I had written for an older blog. I hope you like it.
The little girl on the street just grew up.
Having four dogs, it is my responsibility to take them for a walk. Because it is so hot and humid here, I wait until it gets cool outside before I venture away from the house. Tonight was one of those nights. As I was walking Heidi, I had time to reflect on the neighbor across the street from our house.
The homeowner is a neighbor that has made it pretty clear that he is not crazy about us. It could be the fact that I yelled at them one night plenty years ago because it was about 3AM and I couldn't stand to hear one more blast of their fireworks.
But, living in that house with her dad is a very nice young lady that holds no such grudge against us. I met her the first week that we moved into our house because she came over and said hi. She was the only neighbor that welcomed us.
I noticed over the years that she was a pied piper of children and would be outside with a group of kids of all ages around her. She would swing them around, carry them, chase them and come to their rescue when they were hurt or insulted. She loved animals and would pet and walk your dog happily. She would come around with her box of candy bars for us to buy for her school fundraisers.
As time moved on I would see her walking to her friends house or have a crowd of teens in her yard listening and dancing to music on the front porch. She never failed to wave and say hi when we passed. I would see her mowing the grass, taking out the trash and helping her dad. Once I heard a young girlfriend running from her parent's car excitedly screaming "We're going to see Britney!, We're going to see Britney!"
My little neighbor was always happy it seemed. She came and borrowed some peroxide once and said she wanted to try something on her hair. I was worried but whatever she did spurred her to plan to go to hair school because she proudly told us so.
I remember seeing her out in the front yard twirling a big flag. I guess she was in band. It didn't last long. I would see her outside less and less but she could still be seen walking around the corner of her house heading off to a friends house.
One day when I was outside I saw her driving. I was stunned. Driving! She could not be old enough. I did the math. I have lived here eight years this January. That makes her 16!!! I would see her in different cars driving around and thought .. another milestone for her. Not long afterward, I saw her in a beautiful bright red dress. I shouted across the street. "How beautiful! What's the occasion?" "My prom", she said beaming! Once again I added it up. Yup, possible.
A few months later seeing her outside, she excitedly told me "look, dad bought me a car for graduation, a Mustang!" I mumbled something like, that is so great, congratulations." but I was thinking, Where does time go, and why a Mustang!!!
So tonight, as I am walking Heidi, I am suddenly feeling sad. I really can't say I know this girl that well. Really, not at all. But as I look in her driveway and notice her car is not at home and there is no high spirited chatter on her front porch, I realize that I miss her. I don't see her walking with her friends anymore. and she has moved on to adult things. A rite of passage that I also went through. Once the car appeared, my bike Flighty went to the basement.
I have planted a little tree and watched it grow big. I have taken many holiday decorations up and down. But what is the most unsettling surprise to me is that I would feel so bittersweet about the growing up of a little neighborhood girl from across the street. She was just eight. Now she is an adult. Good luck to you, my grown-up friend.