Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a local semi-celebrity

I pulled up in front of the school this morning and put the truck in park. I noticed Hayden's Aide walking towards us as I went around the other side to open his door. 

"He had the best time with them yesterday," I said. 

Her daughter Kayla has been coming to the house to keep an eye on Hayden when one of us is working from home, or just as an extra help to keep him busy when he doesn't have any particular commitments in the afternoon (give his grandmas a little break). She's a senior in high school, and her level of energy is an appropriate match for Hayden's. It amazes me that after three hours of keeping up with him, he's more tired than she is. (His tendency to pass out after she leaves is the best part.)

Yesterday, her brother joined them for the last hour because Hayden is always asking about him. He has met them previously at the school, when his Aide brought them for "Bring Your Child to Work Day". They have an older sibling Cody and then there's Ryan, the youngest, who was at the house with Kayla yesterday. Hayden can't seem to get his name straight, so he calls Ryan "Cody", and the real Cody is "Big Cody". 

Kayla and Hayden usually do some kind of water play-- using the garden hose, and a baby pool, or one day she brought water balloons. So Ryan arrived in swim trunks and a T-- ready for whatever Hayden wanted to do.

Kayla and H already had their fill of getting soaked, and both were changed into dry clothes. So when I snuck out to do some errands, the three of them got on the trampoline. Nothing like jumping around in humid, heat-wave weather before she and her brother headed off to cheerleading and football practice! 

When I returned home from the bank and grocery store, H was as soaked as he had been after water play earlier. Kayla said she wiped him with a cool, wet cloth. I thanked her. Hayden asked, "Get me?" as he always does when I come home from any kind of shopping. 

"Here," I said as I put a box of doughnut holes on the table and some watermelon. "I got you these!"

Kayla cut the watermelon, and the three of them sat down while Hayden had a snack. After I put the groceries away (which Kayla offered to help with, but I declined), I sat at the other end of the table checking work email. I don't think Hayden looked my way even once.

So anyway as soon as I saw his Aide this morning, I was happy to tell her how much fun Hayden had yesterday. She couldn't respond fast enough, "I know, my son told me, 'Mom, you're right-- his smile is contagious!' They loved it."

Just then our former neighbor, Janie, pulled up to drop her daughter off. During the regular school year, her daughter is already over at the other elementary now with the higher grades. And every time I see her son I can't get over how tall he is, from the toddler that lived next door when we came out here six years ago. They moved to a home only a mile or so away, but the other house is still vacant.

Janie gave a hello to each of us and Hayden's Aide looked at her and said, "I was just saying, my younger two were there yesterday and they have so much fun with him--" 
Janie interjected, "I know how could you not be happy around him. The other day I had to stop at the old house to close the windows and I could hear Hayden's belly-laugh. I look over and there's Dan, with a giggling Hayden thrown over his shoulder, hauling him up the front steps." 

For the longest time, one of Hayden's school pictures was on Janie's refrigerator (maybe it still is). There have been times that Dan & I are out with Hayden, and someone we don't even know will say hi to him. Usually a staff member from the school. The people at the corner pharmacy know him, definitely some of the local restaurants, and many of the employees at more than one DD within a 5 to 7 mile radius.

I did not want to move out here, but we researched daycare centers and the monthly cost was like another mortgage. Instead we made arrangements with a friend to help out with the baby, following my Maternity Leave so I could return to work. We found a home only four miles from where they live.

At first, all I could think about was the fact that I'd be at least 45 minutes to the closest Bloomingdales, nearly an hour from my parents, and I will tell you the slogan on the sign as you enter this country, I mean county, 'People and Nature Together' was not helping anything. There are local roads with farms on either side, and the fact that we're only minutes from a cow crossing was beyond my comprehension.

But now I realize that even though this small town is not too big, it's big enough that it's not too small. Literally almost anything we could possibly need is ten minutes in any one direction. (If there were a few more Democrats, a local synagogue, and a kosher deli, I think it'd be perfect.)

This is where we live. Where an occasional neighborhood bear steals trash leaving nothing but bite marks on the garbage can, or a bat hides under a table umbrella on the deck, and wild turkeys might congregate on the lawn, or a fox dart across the road, and deer appear almost as frequently as birds. 

And there's even a local semi-celebrity with a famous contagious smile who lives right under our roof. 

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