Right before I had Briggs, new neighbors moved in next door.
A lovely couple with grown children, who immediately settled into their colonial, by ripping up the backyard.
I can’t remember exactly when Ken and I met them. I was on bedrest when they moved in, and during our son’s 61-day stay in the newborn intensive care unit, I wasn’t very “present” was I was away from him at home.
Though, sometime after Briggs was finally cleared to be out in the world (following an emergency surgery and full recovery at Boston Children’s Hospital), the couple came over.
They brought soft swaddling blankets and the most darling outfit donning ducks.
I remember apologizing for not being more social, sooner – which is when this kind, thin, but strong gardner gently shook her head and said:
“No, no. No apologies. I knew when we saw the balloons on the mailbox, but no baby for quite some time that he was preemie. My son came early, too. The worry is overwhelming, but I can tell, even from over there, that you’re a very good Mom. I totally understand if you’re not letting others hold him yet, but I’d be so honored to do so.”
I cried a little and told her that Briggs loved being held – as long as she was okay with washing her hands and forearms in the kitchen sink, drying them off, and then “pumping in” with some Purell.
She happily obliged, and then she rocked my son.
Through the years, she and her husband have watched our son grow from that tiny preemie, to a rough and tumble kid hitting Wiffle balls over their fence. And, Ken, Briggs and I have watched them literally grow the most beautiful twinkling sanctuary (filled with every kind of native New England flower you can imagine), from a lot of gnarly vine and overgrown weeds.
Tonight was the first time that I (really) realized that Briggs’s bedroom overlooks their backyard.
How fitting, I thought. A reminder, for both sides, that what you focus on truly does grow.
(PS – To borrow from Ani Defranco, our neighbor’s yard (especially at night) possess the kind of beauty that moves – so while the picture does it no justice, I believe your imagination can do the trick…or maybe just come over sometime. :))