It's a heavy way to begin a blog, but it is... what it is.
A long time ago, a family moved into a new home. The Mom and Dad tried to convince their two young girls that all would be well, friends would be made, and fun would be had. The two little girls wondered if it would really be possible for the big strange house to feel like home. Along the way, perhaps the next day or perhaps a few weeks down the line, the two girls met another two girls who lived right next door. The four were all close in age and similar in personality. A bond was forged and a friendship was made. The four little girls played together after school and throughout the summers. The games began with barbies and dress-ups, which later matured into kick-the-can and capture the flag. The range of activities included everything from forming a rock band out of cardboard boxes, a summer fitness program that lasted two mornings, ballet performances on bicycles, to neighborhood Olympics, consecutive sleepovers, and very predictable surprise birthday parties. The big strange house did, in fact, become a home. The home included the small strip of yard between the two houses, then spread onto the neighbor's front porch and into their home as well.
Through the years the four girls had their usual ups and downs in their friendships. Temper tantrums in the early years were common; overly dramatic and excessively emotional arguments in high school occurred on occassion. In college, life began to pull the girls in different directions, although their paths continued to cross, sometimes for a long while sometimes just over Christmas break. Through it all, the girls maintained a solid friendship that can only be created through years of playing and sharing and living next door to each other.
As consistent and comforting as that friendship was, there was someone else who was consistent and comforting. A mother was always there. She wasn't "just" there though, she was THERE with a smile or a song or a funny little story. She always had healthy snacks to eat, puffy paints to use, ideas for another activity during boring summer days. She always asked questions and seemed truly interested in the answers; she always remembered the last time she saw you and the answers to those questions from days/weeks/months ago.
As one of those little girls moving into that big strange house, I am thankful that my parents moved our family. I am thankful that we ended up next to a family that has come to be part of my "family." I am thankful for the many happy memories with our neighbors - twenty-five years worth of memories!
My heart is deeply saddened that I will not be adding new memories of that ever-consistent and comforting mother. Mrs. Naden passed away last night. I can truly say that I never heard her say an unkind word about anyone; I don't think I ever saw her angry or complaining or grumpy! She was a bright light in the world. She will be missed by many including those girls who lived next door to her for years and years.