On the next street over from me lives an elderly widow, who lives alone. Her name is Mary Lou. I pass her house frequently as I come and go- sometimes several times a day as I take kids to and from school, errands, etc. On nice days, she is almost always sitting out on her front porch, sometimes reading or chatting with neighbors, but often just sitting and watching the world go by. I find myself jealous of her at times. With 4 small children, I often feel I am losing control of my life- constantly running from one thing to the next and constantly having a huge list of things to do around the house that never gets done. I so strongly wish I could find more time to just sit on the porch, watch the world go by, read and chat with neighbors. It would especially be nice to be able to do so without feeling guilt over what I "should" be doing. Everyday, when I pass her house and see her sitting there, I always smile and wave. On days when I am especially busy and extra tired, I always feel that longing to not have to do whatever it is I have to do and just go home and sit on my own front porch. Sometimes, when I pass her house several times in a day from multiple errands and she is sitting out front watching me come and go several times, I have to wonder what she is thinking about me.
However, there are two sides to every story. I have gotten to know Mary Lou a bit. She is a very sweet, and somewhat feisty, woman. Sometimes, when I go on walks and she is sitting outside, I stop and visit with her. My kids and I have made cupcakes for her and taken them to her in the past. We have also exchanged phone numbers and she calls me from time to time, just to chat. I suspect she is lonely. Her husband died about 10 years ago, I think. Also, I know her only child, a daughter in her 50's, has been dealing with breast cancer and has had several surgeries. Mary Lou goes to stay with her from time to time, especially after a surgery, to help her out. That daughter has no children and is not married, so I know Mary Lou has no grandchildren which is probably part of the reason she likes my kids a lot and likes it when we stop by and asks about them when she calls. So, though I am sometimes jealous of her being able to enjoy the weather on her front porch, I know it comes with a price.
I truly love my life and don't want to trade it. And, really, I know that the time will come- probably all to soon- when the kids will be gone and my husband is retired when we will find ourselves sitting on the porch watching the world go by and wondering where all the craziness went. So, I really don't want to change things in my life- it would just be nice to occasionally find that time to just stop- sit outside and enjoy the weather and watch the world go by on the front porch.
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