It's about 8:30 on Saturday morning... Ellen woke me up as she left the house to go running and as my head hit the pillow to go back to sleep I heard the sounds of little girls laughing and saying, "HIII MISS ELLEN!" from across the street.
I smiled, and threw on tennis shoes.
These three girls have been a huge part of our lives for the last nine months. Maria and Psalms (the beautiful 7 year old girl on the left) moved here about a week after we did in August because Maria was completing a nine month graduate program at the JAG school here in Charlottesville.
They were some of the first neighbors we really connected with here, and on the first day we discovered that Maria had to be at class everyday at 8am, but Psalms didn't get on the bus until 8:10 each morning. Thus began months of the doorbell ringing right at 7:45 :) Psalms would hang out with us each morning-- we have played countless games of War, colored many pictures (some of which are hanging in my office), and dropped about 50 ice cubes into steaming mugs of hot chocolate.
Over the year it has been a challenge to watch Psalms in the mornings-- not because of her behavior by any means! She's the most polite child and we are all "Miss" to her! But between the three of us balancing breakfast dates or the need to catch some more sleep, it has really drawn us together to have to figure out who can get up with her each day. At times we have gotten frustrated... and there are other mornings where I lay in bed and hear the doorbell ring and think in my unwilling heart "Nooooooo".... then I hear Ellen's door open and her sleepy voice greet Psalms, "Want to play cards?" If anything, it has made the three of us more of a family... we just borrow other people's children. :)
About a month ago Maria's husband, James, packed up their house in Texas and brought their three year old, Zion, to join the party here on Short 18th. Yes-- Maria and James have been apart the majority of this year! It's always so sweet when a visit is approaching because Maria and Psalms count down to the day. The whole family has been here for about a month as they get ready to leave this place. Maria has been stationed in Germany for the next three years beginning June 1.
So today was another morning of being greeted by the voices of little girls, and sleepily pulling myself together to go spend time with them. Today wasn't a school day... just a special one as I know it's the last Saturday they will be here.
The whole family has been hard at work at their house manning a yard sale... when Maria moved here they bought most of their stuff at Goodwill so that they could just get rid of it at the end of the year. I spent about 20 minutes just hanging out with little Zion this morning while Maria sold off a child's bed, some puzzles, and some of the girls' clothes.
I will miss this family. They are Christians, and it was sweet to share fellowship with them and to pray for them during their time here. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to visit them in Germany! We are already praying for who will rent their house next... it's a tiny one, but we're hoping for another family whose life we can be a part of.
I love this city, this neighborhood, this street.