Suggested Topic #2: "Warmer days"
Many years ago Senior was offered a job outside Cincinnati, so we packed up our kids and made the move from New York to Ohio. It was tough to move away from family and friends, but we were excited to start a new adventure and put some distance between us and the infamous WNY winters (and taxes).
While we really liked our new home town, one of the hardest things was just not feeling like we were "home". Our neighbors were pleasant, and one even brought us cookies to welcome us on the day we moved in, but we never made quite the same connection we had with our close knit neighborhood in NY. I'd spent my whole life in a 90 mile radius, and now I would drive past roads and have no idea where they led. I couldn't wait to see a familiar face, and can still remember the joy I felt the first time I recognized someone at the grocery store. (The poor woman, the mother of one of The Boy's new classmates, must have thought I was slightly mad when I ran up to her cart with sparkling eyes and said "OH HI!! IT'S GREAT TO SEE YOU!!!" She smiled back and slowly edged her cart away behind a display of canned peas.) But what really made it tough was when Senior's father was diagnosed with leukemia. We made the 16-hour round trip back home as often as we could during the months of his illness until the dreaded phone call came saying he had passed away.
After the funeral we headed back to Cincinnati and tried get back into a normal routine as soon as possible, even though we were struggling with the fact that we had been so far away from home during that difficult time. The next afternoon our doorbell rang, and I opened it to find my neighbor, the cookie lady, standing there with tears in her eyes and a big bouquet of flowers. She had heard via our kids about our loss, and just wanted to offer her support and a hug. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. Cookie lady was this stylish, athletic, all-American blond with three small children and a bevy of family and friends vying for her attention. The fact that she took the time to make this small heartfelt gesture made me feel like I had finally come "home". So never underestimate the power you may have to warm up someone's day like she did for me.