Those first days here were tedious and long. I didn't know anyone and I had two 20 month old children to handle. It was easier, in some ways, because we had so much new space. On the other hand, I missed my family and friends. I tried to fill our days with outside play and local parks, anything that saved me from dwelling on the fact that I missed my family. When we frolicked in the front yard, we'd often see our neighbor, Mrs. S, with her dog. She'd stop on her way out for a walk, let the kids pet her dog, chat with us, and then head on her way.
Sometimes, Mrs. S would invite the kids in to her house, and we'd trek to the basement to check out her old toys. We found some remote controlled cars, a rocking horse, a doll house, and a random assortment of other toys. The girls said they still vaguely remember going to her house. Whether or not that is the case, I don't know. We still went over there shortly before Aaron was born, if I remember correctly, and they were almost 3 at that time.
Last fall, we learned that Mrs. S has Alzheimer's Disease. We spotted her still walking her dog, leash in one hand and a wave in the other, but I wondered if she was sure of who we were. She has gotten to the point, now, where she no longer can walk her own dog very well. For that matter, the task of walking is getting to be impossible for her. She stumbles and gets lost. The neighborhood is on high alert: if you see Mrs. S out by herself, you bring her home again.
This past Monday night, Mrs. S was out in front of our house, looking like she was headed for another walk. In the past few weeks, I've had to take her from the street up to her house, where we met an astonished Mr. S. He hadn't even been aware that his wife had left the house. I watched her for a few moments and guessed she was yearning to go west. Tim went out to walk with her around the block.
After I threw some things in the dishwasher, I realized that perhaps, once again, Mr. S did not know his wife was out. I put a sweater over my shoulders, told the girls (who by this time were in bed, but not asleep) that I'd be right back, and walked across the street. I rang the doorbell and heard nothing. Then, I heard the garage door open. I padded over the sidewalk to the driveway, and glanced up. Mr. S, in his car, stopped.
Me: Hey Mr. S!
Him: I'm going to get her!
Me: It's okay. Tim has her.
I approached the car so I didn't have to yell.
Him: Tim has her?
Me: Yes, we saw her walking, so he went ahead and joined her. They are making the loop.
Him: That is so nice. You are just so nice.
Him: I appreciate it.
Me: Well, what are you going to do?
I felt uncomfortable, but I still can't put my finger on why I felt that way. Tim and I don't help out Mrs. S because we're nice. It is the neighborly thing to do, the thing you'd do for friends and neighbors, and just about anybody in the same situation. Keeping an eye on her when she is out is simply the right thing to do, and something I would hope someone would do for me, or my parents, or my siblings.
Mr. S told me that he'd likely be sending Mrs. S to a home soon. I'd like to find out the name of the home, and plan on asking Mr. S where she will be. She helped me out immensely way back when, and I doubt I ever told her that. I'd like to repay the debt now.