March 22, 2008

Loving Our Neighbors

We have entered a new "world" in our kids' lives: we now have neighbors! OK, it's not the first time we've lived near actual people. But it IS the first time we've had children in VERY close proximity to our house. In Ohio and Maryland we were surrounded by retired folks. Our first LV house we did meet the B family down the street with 4 girls--they are still great friends, even though they also live in another neighborhood now. But again, we lived closest to retired folks. Our second LV house was in a beautiful neighborhood, but folks pretty much kept to themselves. Besides, the people we did see were either--you guessed it--retired or else they had teens or college-aged kids.

So a couple of weeks ago when I returned from the ladies' retreat to find a moving truck right across the street, I wandered over to say hello. Upon discovering that there was an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, I knew I needed to bring the rest of the family over for introductions!

Our kids are in heaven! Braden and Mikaela love to play with us, and their mom, Carmen, and I have enjoyed getting to know each other while we watch the kids ride up and down the street. (There are no sidewalks in this neighborhood, so a vigilant eye is required!) I've let the kids invite Braden and Mikaela over to jump on the trampoline, and I enjoy listening to them and watching their antics while I'm working in the kitchen.

Carmen is divorced from the kids' father and is living with Joe, a nice guy who really seems to treat her and the kids well. They plan to marry but don't have a date set yet. I told her to let me know when they get one, and I will help her make invitations if she wants. It's been a teaching opportunity for our kids, as they had no idea what a divorce was. I know I have explained it before--I can't remember why it had come up at some point, maybe a library book or something? Anyway, they apparently didn't remember that discussion, because Charis asked if Joe was Braden and Mikaela's daddy. I think she wondered why they called him "Joe."

So, I explained the situation as best as I could, and all 3 kids just froze and stared at me when I told them what happens during a divorce. They looked absolutely horrified. In fact, Charis looked as if she were ready to burst into tears. I quickly assured them that divorce was NOT an option in our family, and Daddy and I will stay married until or unless God takes one or both of us to heaven. I also tried to keep things positive in respect to the other family--as in, what a blessing it is for those kids that they now have someone else who can be like a daddy to them and help take care of them.

They need to know the truth about what happens out there in the world, and I hope that this may help them understand a little more and have compassion for those who deal with difficult family situations.


Megan said...

Hey, just curious. What do your kids call Carmen? Because it dawned on me today that my mother-in-law is widowed (and John's dad has since passed away), and technically she's Ms. Lastname because she kept her married name after the divorce. So if I go by Mrs. Lastname, it wouldn't be the same name as her anyway! :)

Megan said...

Oops, I meant divorced, not widowed! I don't think it counts as being widowed if the ex-husband dies after the divorce.