An Invitation to the Heart

My neighbor lives directly across the street and our houses stare at each other.  That is, I can look out the front window to see her house and she can do the same to see my house.  For the several years that we have been neighbors, there wasn’t much communication.  She was a bit of a mystery, but we always waved at each other coming or going.

Recently, I found out that she had hurt her back when she fell in her garage.  I decided that I should call and check on her.  She was having to spend a lot of time in bed to rest, but she assured me that she would be alright.  She wanted me to know what a “tough old lady” she is.  Instead of asking permission to bring her food, I just insisted and told her that I would be bringing her dinner one night.  She objected a little just because she such a fiercely independent lady.  Or, so I thought.

The evening that I took her dinner, it occurred to me that I had never been inside her house.  She still had her pajamas on.  She had gotten out of bed to greet me at the door.  We talked in her kitchen just long enough for me to show her the food and for her to show me the assortment of medication she was taking for her injured back.  These precious few minutes were just enough to break the ice.  She wanted to talk.  She wanted a sympathetic ear to hear her troubles but she didn’t want to ask.  The “tough old lady” with the hard exterior had just cracked, and we had bonded.

A week or so later after recovering, she called me to insist that she would be bringing over a loaf of home-made bread.  She had never been inside my house and I was thrilled that she was walking across the street to see me.  I welcomed her at the door and we sat and talked together.  She told me about her family bread recipe and the history of her family.

In the past few months, we have exchanged numerous phone calls and conversations in the yard.  We have even become Facebook friends.  I am constantly amused that this self-described “tough old lady” would have the sweetest and funny Facebook posts.   I could tell her what a sweet lady she really is, but I think she has an image to protect.

When I think about our relationship, it becomes clear to me when it got better.  All it took was an invitation.  A sharing of food between neighbors created a bond of friendship.  It was an invitation of food that allowed us to enter each other’s homes, and each other’s hearts.

Via Daily Prompt:  Invitation


Road Trip

I have a promise to keep.  Several years ago, I made a commitment to a friend that I would come visit her home.  Unfortunately, she lives about five states away from me.

This was my commitment,

Someday, I am coming to see you!”

Her parents do live nearby, so we see each other most years when she comes to visit her parents at Christmas.  However, it’s not the same.  I want to see her home.  I want to meet her friends.  I want to meet her beautiful dog.  I want to see her life.

I made this commitment to her before I became a full-time caregiver for my husband.  The life of a caregiver is busy, constant, and usually revolves around a certain schedule.  My life has very little flexibility and personal choice.  Everything I do is done for the benefit and safety of my husband.

One day, I will fulfill this commitment to my friend.  I will make that journey.  I will make sure the car has a full tank of gas and I will leave at sunrise.  I will drive alone across those five states.  There will be many stops along the way to see absolutely anything and everything that looks interesting to me.  There will be no hotel reservations to rush to.  There will be no schedule at all.  Even my dear friend won’t know what time to expect me at her house.

She will, however, be able to track my every move on Facebook.  I would post pictures of every tourist trap between my house and hers.  I would be slightly obsessive about these posts, just because I could be.  The travel life of a caregiver is practically nonexistent, so it would be fair to expect a caregiver to be overly indulgent to make up for lost time.

Spontaneity is the dream of every caregiver.  The idea of being able to do anything at any given time is completely foreign.  Most caregivers would be thrilled at the chance to jump in a car and drive as far away as possible.  It would be a welcome change of scenery to get away from the daily and constant stress of caregiving.

It’s hard to know when this trip will happen.  A lot depends on the health of my husband and his requirements.  I can’t predict how this trip will fit into my future.  For now, I have important responsibilities here at home.

Perhaps, it’s better for the trip to live in my dreams right now.  Sometimes the planning can be as much fun as the actual trip.  There is one thing of which I am certain.  It will be a fabulous trip to remember.



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