I Hugged A Stranger

[NoteOkay, so some of you got a little teaser of this post on Wednesday night.  Chalk that up to a blogging foul.  I really shouldn’t blog from either the iPad or after my bedtime.  Clearly it doesn’t work too well.]

BabyFace and I were walking back to the house from the mailbox when we were flagged down by a stranger on her cell phone.  Not in a frantic way, but in a “hey, I have something to tell you” kind of way.  She quickly wrapped up her conversation as she crossed the street, clearly heading in our direction.  There was a slight hesitation before she gave us a great big smile.

“I used to live in your house.”

[Awkward moment of silence.]

I tried to recall tidbits of information from the offer process, closing and short conversations with the new neighbors.  But the evening isn’t the best time of day for my tired brain. What I do know about the previous owners is that they moved out of state and were unable to be at the closing.  So I never had the chance to meet them.


I’m holding several days worth of mail and trying to keep track of BabyFace, who is roaming around my legs.  I stretch out my arm to shake her hand.  She returns the gesture.  Then, as only two women can do, we exchange looks and hug each other.

[Kids: don’t hug strangers.]

She tells me stories about the trees the planted in the backyard.  One for each of their daughters when they were born.  And the big pine tree up front was a housing warming gift from her brother.  I get to ask her where exactly they hung the towels, given there are no towel rods or hook anywhere near the shower.  [Turns out he threw his over the shower door and she hung her’s on what I assumed was the robe hook by the toilet.]  She warns me to never use harsh cleaners on the bathroom marble because even toothpaste can eat through it and they had it replaced three times.  I finally get to ask how they decorated around the adorable white picket fence in Marshmellow’s room.  And I get to tell her that the blue room now has a surfboard theme.

“Would you like to come inside?”

[Kids: don’t invite strangers into your house.]

Her eyes follow the driveway up to the house with a look of intimidation, followed by sadness, and more hesitation.

“Maybe next time.”

They are in town to move her mother-in-law into assisted living and don’t have enough time as it is.

Then we continue talking.  She’s been working on a scrapbook of sorts to give us about the house.  She wanted to give it to us at the closing, but something came up at the last minute.  Somehow I’m telling her that I just got a Cricut.  She has one too!  In fact, she personally cut out the saying found on the family room wall: LIFE IS A JOURNEY.  She cut it out of vinyl with the special blade.  Who knew?  She gives me a few Cricut tips, which I’ve pretty much already forgotten.

We stood outside for at least twenty minutes chatting.  I love Sally.  They built this house and planned to grow old in it.  Until a job moved them to Texas.  We plan on raising our children here and growing old here.  I’m not moving to Texas.

I feel better knowing how much love was in this house before us.  I hope she has some comfort knowing that love continues to be here and that I appreciate all of her attention to detail.  I could see us being really great friends.  Too bad she lives in Texas.

*Sally is a fictitious name.  But the story is real.