Welcome Wagon Wisdom
I didn’t know my daughter Harper had slipped this note into the new neighbor’s potted plant on their porch (pre-mailbox) last fall until they sent the note back with a letter of their own. They hadn’t actually moved in until much later in the winter, a time in Minnesota when I don’t even see the neighbors I know until the spring thaw. So, when Harper was out playing in the front yard and the new neighbor came over and delivered a note to her, I was curious. I asked her about it and she said; “Oh, they were just writing me back from when I sent them a welcome note with blanks for them to fill out and return.” I admit, I was more than a little nervous about what she might have asked them. Then she showed me her original note, and their letter in response.
Her note said (in case you don’t read pre-first-grade English): Dear people next door, Welcome to Minnesota. Please write your name here ___ then please send back the card, but before you do that, please write back. You can write whatever you want. From your neighbor Harper and Family. (It included a nice picture of flowers and clouds.)
It was a simple, gracious act of welcome that I, in my busyness and cautiousness about the privacy of others would never have thought to do. The note that came back included a picture of mother and son. It was written by the father and it was so sweet. It introduced their little family, and explained to Harper that their son was looking forward to meeting her. It also prepared her that their little boy is autistic and is not able to talk like most other kids, but he understands everything people say. He explained to her that even though meeting him will be a little different, he looks forward to being her friend and neighbor.
This is not the first time that I have been humbled by my children. They are always teaching me how to be my best self, how to be open and vulnerable with others, and so much more. Too often we assume that we are here to teach and guide them, when really there is so much they have to teach us.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
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