A blog reader mentioned that I hadn’t said much about Neighbor Girl lately. She is right. I haven’t. Mainly because there is very little to say.
I don’t really see her much anymore. Oh, I guess that’s wrong. I do see her. She just doesn’t come over for the day like she used to. I see her walking down the street and wave.
I had told you earlier that there was a chance that three cousins, who were taken away from their mom, wound up in foster care and that Neighbor Girl’s older sister was trying to get custody of them..well it happened. A seven, twelve and fourteen year old are now living there with Neighbor Girl’s family.
During that process the oldest sister asked if I would care for the youngest cousin and I said no. I am already full with childcare kids. She wanted strange hours and at times wouldn’t pick up until 11:30pm. She doesn’t have a permanent schedule. Nope. I wasn’t up for that and honestly, I didn’t feel that her having the kids was really in anyone’s best interest. They all had been over here and the kids didn’t listen to her at all. I was already worried about Neighbor Girl.
Two weeks ago Kalissa and I took Carver and the dogs on a walk. Neighbor Girl and her 14 year old cousin were floating in the town river on an inner tube. The cousin was smoking….I’ve also seen the 12 year old cousin smoking. This is who Neighbor Girl spends all her time with now…they aren’t supervised or checked on.
A month or so ago I got a chance to talk to Neighbor Girl’s older brother. He’s in high school and was working to figure out how he could move out of the house. He didn’t think there was enough room for him at the house anymore. That about broke my heart. How hard to be 17 and feel like there isn’t room for you in your own home.
Neighbor Girl stopped by not too long ago. It was 10 in the morning on a Thursday. She was with her cousin. No one was awake at their house. She had a pair of shorts and a tank top with her. Both had a hole and she wanted me to patch them.
I, of course, did.
I think that my house isn’t fun for her anymore. Who would pick here where you have to follow rules and be accountable when you could run the town and do what you want? If a kid had a chance to hang with big kids who were “risky” enough to smoke, why would a person choose to be at my house that’s filled with childcare kids?
Kalissa was really worried that I would be upset with the turn of events…Hubby was really worried about me too…I think some of you blog readers were worried I was getting too attached too. I am okay. My house and heart are still very open and here for her when and if she comes around. In a heartbeat she could live with us on a permanent basis if needed as long as she’s willing to follow some rules. I made boundaries for myself from the beginning. I was doing things for her. I wasn’t doing any of this because I had an empty spot in me that I was trying to fill. My life is complete as is. I was trying to help fill needs she had not needs I had. That made this break much easier to take.
I miss her and want only the best for her. I’m scared for her. I’m scared for her family. I feel like more problems will be coming their way…but I don’t have the power to stop or change that. Sadly some things have to be learned the hard way…and eventually choices come back and bite us in the butt.
I’ll admit, I had so hoped she’d come over this summer and we could master flash cards and get ahead with her reading. It was summer where we could have made a difference but it didn’t happen and I frankly don’t think it will. I’m really sad that it is a lost summer….sad that she’s around people who don’t make smart choices and their choices will likely impact Neighbor Girl.
I have a hope that school will start again and somehow she’ll find her way back…who knows….and that’s the Neighbor Girl update.
I’ve been spending lots of time with my Neighbor Girl lately. She comes and goes when she wants..not knocking and coming in like it’s her home. I am okay with that and Hubby is too….but it had gotten me to change a few things… I had gotten lax on closing the bathroom door or bedroom door if I was home alone, but not anymore. I never know when she is going to show up. I never really know what triggers her comings and goings. Sometimes she will be here several days in a row and then the next few days I don’t see her much at all. Lately, though, she spends more and more time here. In fact, she’s even started staying overnight here. She has a bed here that’s “her’s” and dresser drawer too. Regularly mom’s work hours and the older sister’s work hours don’t coincide so she had nowhere to go. She’s welcome whenever she wants or is needed. If I’m going somewhere, I always give her the option to come with. If I’m not going to be around, and I wasn’t able to get in touch with her before I left, I leave a note on the door for her to let her know where I am.
A couple weeks ago we had some super stormy weather and she has access to a phone now so she will contact me and tell me she’s scared. It’s hard. I take responsibility seriously and these calls are hard on me.
Yesterday was the last day of school so I am curious what will happen with her time here. In fact, a few things are up in the air with her. Cousins of her’s recently were taken from their mom and DHS was involved. Thoughts are that they might be moving in to her house. I’m not sure how I feel about that as I expect one of the cousins will be here all the time too. It’s a boy and he’s younger. Like I said, lots of things are up in the air…and honestly, I sometimes question how much I can do and where me place is in all of this.
Earlier this week Neighbor Girl went with me to a dance recital for on of my childcare kids. It was fun having her tag along. Kelli met us there. After about the fourth performance of the dancers, Neighbor Girl leaned over and said to me, “I wish I was skinny and I wish I was in dance.” Ah…the body image problems hit so young. Then I thought UGH…I can’t do anything about either thing.
For us, dance is out of town. Lessons are weekly and then there is one recital that requires an expensive costume. I don’t think lessons are cheap but there are so many advantages if she could go….1-it would lead her into a group of kids that might be a better influence on her…2-it might help with the body image…3-it would be a good thing to learn and experience.
Anyway…back to our night. After the recital we went to the Chinese restaurant. Neighbor Girl wasn’t excited about that but then she realized that she thought she liked Orange Chicken as they served that as a school lunch. She ordered it and then refused to even take a bite.
She’s super picky about smells and looks…and honestly, few Chinese dishes look scrumptious.
Kelli was really upset because Neighbor Girl didn’t eat and Kelli had chosen the restaurant. Me, I wasn’t. If she was hungry she would have ate. I also was glad that we gave her an experience be it a good experience or a bad one. It’s good so that someday if someone says, “Hey, do you want to go out for Chinese?”. She will know her answer…which will likely be NO! Kelli and I did forgo our fortune cookies so she at least ate three fortune cookies for supper.
While we were chatting we started talking about the end of this school year and the beginning of the next one. Here, fifth grade means band starts. It’s optional but the majority of the kids typically try an instrument. She told us that she was excited about that and hoped she might be able to play saxophone, clarinet or trumpet. Me, knowing instruments are expensive, asked if they had one at home. She said no- but they are only $20-$30. I told her that was $20-$30 a month! She got a sad look on her face and said well I guess I can’t do that either.
That left Kelli and I both sad too.
After we got home I started to talk to Hubby about it. He’s game for whatever I want to commit too because (to be honest) he’s fallen for her too. So the brain storming began….That’s when an idea hit me. I’m hoping that one of you might have a saxophone, clarinet or trumpet sitting in a closet waiting for a new little girl to love. I know so often kids start out excited wanting to play an instrument and then forget about the instrument so they sit and sit. Do one of you have an instrument that is no longer loved-just catching dust? I’d happily pay $50 and the postage to get it here to her…I don’t want to risk the big dollars for a new instrument in case she ends up not loving it. I’d really like to get an instrument and have so that she doesn’t go through the stress of not feeling included when other kids start getting their instruments. She really wasn’t picky about which instrument she wanted…a saxophone, clarinet or trumpet would be awesome!
As far as dance goes…I am going to do some investigation checking prices and locations then make a decision to see if I want to make the commitment to pay and to transport her there. It’s so hard for me to know my place..one moment she’s here all the time and I’m more like a mom to her and the next minute the plug is pulled and I’m brutally remind that I’m the neighbor. I just never know what day it’s going to be which role or when it’s going to switch. The more it happens, the more I am adjusting to it. At first I was really hurt and I’d wonder if she was coming back. Now I know she always comes back. I just know now that there will always be a down behind the up…I really am getting better at it.
If you do have an instrument you are will to part with, please contact me at email@example.com. I’d sure appreciate the help in making a little girl happy.
This weekend was garden weekend for me….It’s one of my VERY-VERY favorite times of the year.
Friday I lamented a bit to Hubby that I had the gardening itch and was a little sad the garden wasn’t tilled. I wanted to go buy plants. Thankfully he’s a farmer and very much understands the “gardening itch”. Well Saturday morning he called me and said he was going to till it Sunday morning!! I was thrilled. I finished what I was doing and off I went to my favorite place- Morris Landscaping in New Hampton. I wanted everything bought so I could plant on Sunday.
I was on the hunt for rhubarb plants, garden starts and flowers. I was also wanting some landscaping advice. I got a bit of it all.
I spent some time outside finding my rhubarb plants and then talking with one of the workers what plants would be best around my house. I want older varieties of plants that don’t have a modern look to them….For example hostas and day lilies are more of modern look… lilacs, roses and hydrangeas are more of an old fashion look. I want our house to look old and have plants and landscaping that looks like it has been here for forever.
I got some good ideas and then I was off to investigate the inside of the greenhouse.
There is so much to choose from and I am slow at decision making. The cart filled quickly…then things got moved around as I continually changed my mind and color ways.
Once I got home I started unloading plants, finding the shovels and hoes and then hauling the tomato cages to the garden.
Sunday morning rolled around and true to his word, Hubby was out and tilling the garden. See? Continue reading →