Sunday, May 18, 2008

Howdy, Neighbor!

Today was a lovely peach of a day. We went to an early church service and after lunch and nap, we had a surprize visit from one of the neighbors and her son, who is just slightly older than Amelia. He is truly a delightful little boy with a winning smile and generous spirit.

Not too long after they popped in, along came another mom and her daughter (2 months older than Amelia) for a visit. Olivia is a little angel who talks like an Italian momma - she looks you straight in the eye, talks a mile a minute and moves her hands around like they are telling their own story at the same time. At one point, Amelia was hugging Olivia while she was playing and it was so darn cute... until she was hugging her so hard she was choking her accidentally!

The kids together looked picture perfect... Steven with golden red hair, Olivia with jet black hair, and Mia with blonde hair - too bad my camera konked out a few pictures into it.

BUT! Not before I snapped a pic of Amelia kissing Steven. Voluntarily. And, Rafe, don't have a heart attack, but this is actually the second time she gave him some love!! She went up to him and kissed him at last Tuesday's play date. I mentioned it was Steven's first kiss, but apparently another little girl already beat Amelia to the punch.

Before Rafe left, he built Mia a playhouse out of old cardboard moving boxes. They went in and played peekabo in the playhouse and just had a fun time for a couple of hours around the house while the moms visited. It's an interesting dynamic living in a military community or on base. Most of the husbands at this base aren't deployed, but they might as well be. They are on drill duty, and for their husbands this means they have to be with, and do everything with, the recruits in boot camp. So basically they have to go through boot camp all over again, but for 3 years in a row.

The spouses never know when their husbands will be home until the last minute, although they do often know when they will be gone for a while (come to think of it, much like pilots). We try never to call or show up at each other's house at dinnertime or weekends unless invited because the time with their husband is so precious.

I know that last sentence may sound strange for many people who would never do that anyway. Living on base or in a neighborhood full of active duty military is much like living in a time warp. Neighbors know who you are and what you need and are in and out of each others homes all the time. Friends are made quickly and help is often offered immediately. Case in point - I went to a playgroup on Tuesday and met a woman who had just moved in a month ago. Her husband is gone for a week or two, and she has a 9 month old son. She found out Rafe was gone and I am on a mission to finish unpacking our stuff and making our home organized before I have to go back to Lejeune - a daunting task and one which is overwhelming me. She offered to bring her pack and play, her baby, and help me anytime as she handed me her number. And she was serious. This is actually normal and I feel blessed to be able to experience this side of military life.

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