Today through my window I saw this beautiful mom with curly dark hair walking up to my porch with a very handsome toddler riding high on her shoulders. I thought, "who is this?" Until I got to the door. "ASTRID!" I gave her a big hug and marveled of how well she glowed and how much her son had grown! She was visiting in town from Germany.
Back up about 2 years ago. I was strolling along out one hot day in May angry and frustrated. Another mom had set up a play date with Brielle and I and had backed out (again), so I angrily walked (strode) around the block thinking I was done trying to meet new friends with babies. Then, as I rounded the corner, lo and behold was a women pushing a baby carriage with a large dog was walking toward me while correcting her dog and shading her baby with the flippable European carriage. She seemed distressed a little too. We said hi and she took a look in my stroller at my sweet 5 month old. Brielle had extreme seborrhea dermatitis on her face (and everywhere else) and her little cheeks were blotchy red. Astrid was very concerned. She said she knew of some German products that could maybe help, and she knew of someone who had to change her diet since she was nursing and the baby maybe did not like her mother to eat certain things. We walked to my house, then we walked to hers. One day soon after she brought me the German products for Brielle's skin and a list of foods I could try eliminating. We seemed like two totally different people, but we were neighbors who got along okay, and we both needed a friend. So there we were. We ran into each other occasionally while walking, and we'd gotten together a few times, but we really didn't see each other a lot over the next year. I knew she was planning to move back to Germany, but she was going through a frustrating time, so I don't know when she exactly left.
But she still had my phone number and she still knew where I lived, of course. So, she called a few times and we hoped we could get together while she was in the U.S. But I was still surprised to see her, nevertheless!
We talked and talked about all that had changed since she'd moved in the last year. We talked about the differences between Germany and the U.S. She told me a few things she had on her "wish list" to buy while she was here.
Then, I asked her the BURNING Question: "So, all of what you have in Germany, what do you miss from the U.S. most then? What is here that is not there."
"Friendliness. Kindness. Nothing you can buy, just conversation. People that will share their time and care about yours. That is what I miss most."
She is so honest. I certainly didn't intend to blog about it when I asked her, but I really truly think that what she said is worth pondering to me. Do I take these things for granted all day long? People who are friendly and kind and will talk with me. Probably, yes. Do I give others kindness as freely as I've been given the time and ability to? No.
God, thank you for giving me a neighbor who has enlightened me as much as Astrid has. Thank you that she chose to come visit me while she is back in the States for the week! Thank you for the crazy ways that you work while we are in the midst of not understanding.
ps-she loaded us down with those wonderful German products for Brielle's skin too. How sweet was that? It was way too much and she says, "I was not sure if it would be enough."