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I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood – I never had sidewalks or streetlights or mailboxes. My sister and I used to try to roller skate in the tiny bit of concrete that was the garage and we’d occasionally find a stray pig or horse in our front yard. We’d say ‘going into town’ and had to drive 20 minutes to the grocery store.
After I left home I lived in townhouses, apartments and houses with nary a pig or horse in sight. And I loved the proximity to friends and fun. Several years ago Steve and I lived in a tiny apartment in Downtown Orlando. It was built in the 1940s and however short on space it was it made up for it with charm. We loved this place – we walked to Lake Eola, the library, restaurants, bars, you name it. Unfortunately with the condo boom we knew it’s days were numbered so we moved. Just a year later it was demolished. The piece of land is still vacant.
And now we live in the suburbs. When I take my walks in the evening after Abi is asleep I smell what must be the quentisential smell of a suburban neighborhood – laundry and hamburgers. I can hear kids yelling and splashing in pools. I see lawns that look like someone really enjoys gardening and some that don’t.
It’s just so, so…in the middle. I can’t walk anywhere with a destination in mind, but I’m able to look out my front window into my neighbor’s garage. I find myself more and more wishing to have one or the other – living in the sticks or in a city. I know my neighbors, but I don’t really know them. We all pretty much stick to our own yards and wave hello from time to time. It’s a community without community.
My hope is that one day my parents will need our help and we’ll move the family into my childhood home and be able to have those things that I miss and haven’t been able to find since I left.
Through the 16th of August, take your old cell phone to the Orlando Science Center and receive a free admission ticket! What a great way to beat the heat this weekend. Those under 3 are free.
Thank you Julie for the good idea…
Abi went to her very first birthday party last week – other than her own. Myself and two of my friends all had baby girls within a few months or so of each other. I love the idea that Abi will have friends she’s known since birth; I have one such a friend myself. Although we haven’t spoken in several years I savor the memories I have of us playing together as little girls.
We get to the party and after a little while Abi loosens her reserve and wants to play with the other girls. They aren’t walking yet, and she wants to hug them but ends up hugging their heads and in the process tries to pick them up, making it look like she’s attempting some new toddler wrestling move. I do not freak out, but gently pry her hands off the unwitting victim of her affections and tell her she’s such a good girl to give Olive a hug, can she give Olive a kiss, too? This usually involves Abi offering her cheek to whomever fancies a kiss and she complies with a very European cheek to cheek kiss with her friend.
As the party continues, it’s obvious she is getting restless and bored (tired)…these kids don’t walk! These kids don’t dance! These kids don’t fight back! The other mothers are aware of Abi’s nature…she has a perpetual bruise somewhere on her body from her endeavors at adventure. She will more than likely be a tom-boy and somewhere inside me finds that a relief.
I know I’m a good mom when I scoop her up to leave and she puts her little head right in the crook of my shoulder, sighs, and pats me on the back like we do when we pick her up out of her crib in the mornings (or 2 a.m.). As we walk to the car we run down the litany of animal sounds – what does a cow say? Boooooo. What does a rabbit say? Hop Hop -also the name she’s given her stuffed rabbit. What does a dog say? Woof. What does a lion say? prrrrrrr – she makes a trilling noise in the back of her throat. I guess it’s as close as she can come to a roar or growl.
As I strap her in the car seat I ask her if she had a good time, she smiles, says ‘time’ and kicks off her shoes. By the time we’re out of the neighborhood she’s asleep, one hand grasping her sippy cup, the other holding her Hop Hop.
Big congratulations to my friend Lee, who graduated from U.C.F. today with his PhD. Please don’t ask me what his degree is in…a bunch of stuff I don’t understand. Something about war simulation technology. Most peaceable guy I know, really.
So congrats, Lee – we’re so proud of you! And good luck with all your upcoming endevors. We’ll miss you!
Nothing new to report here in the ‘burbs, except, of course, more sleep problems, but I’m so over them I think that I’ve talked myself into ignoring them in the hopes they will actually go away. So NOT working. Abi is learning new words at an astounding rate and she’s taken to repeating everything we say. With all these Summer afternoon storms, my new favorite is ‘tunder’. Oh, and taaaeeeel for towel. She sounds like the’s been spending too much time watching Steel Magnolias.
Sadly, my Colorado friend’s dog lost his battle with stomach cancer last week. It will be a sad world without the Buddy dog and we’ll miss him.
On a happier note, here’s my girl doing her best impression of Sean Penn (note the bad haircut – one must cut her hair while she’s sleeping as it’s the only time she will be still):