It was a beautiful day outside today. So I’m not sure why I spent it closed up in the house, cleaning the lower level and doing laundry. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow. I should have saved the chores for the rainy day.
Lucy is shedding buckets lately. I’d just finished vacuuming her fur from the furniture in the family room when I noticed movement outside the window which sits at ground level. Ethan was toddling around in the landscaping rocks in front of the house. Mark had put the water fountain out again last week. Ethan loves the water fountain. Almost every day last summer when I’d arrive home from work, Ethan and his mom would be out playing in their yard next door and Ethan would come and crouch in front of the fountain, picking up rocks, dropping them in and pulling them back out again. His fondness for the water fountain didn’t diminish over the winter. But he was disappointed today to see that the water isn’t running in it yet. (It’s supposed to snow on Monday. We’ll wait until the chance of freezing is over.)
I pulled up the blinds in the family room and watched Ethan pick rocks up in his tiny hands. He’d study them for a moment before lifting his hand up high and letting them drop with a thud back to the garden. It took him a moment to notice me looking at him from the other side of the window, but when he did, his eyebrows raised in delight and I could hear him squeal, “CAH!” (CAR!)
See, last week we were enjoying one of those after work warm day visits with Ethan and his parents. Ethan’s mom said he spent many days over the winter, looking out their front window. He’d see Bob across the street and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Bob.” Ethan learned to say Bob. He’d see Mark and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Mark.” Ethan learned to say “Muck.” He’d see me and point. His mom would say, “That’s Terri.” Ethan learned to say, “Tee!”
While we visited in the front yard, Ethan showed me all the words he’d learned to say since last fall. We played basketball. Ethan wanted Mark to put the ball through the net. Mark stood below and tossed the ball in several times. Ethan pointed and said, “Dunk!”
Ethan loves vehicles. He stood in our driveway and pointed first to Mark’s side of the garage. “Muck truck,” Ethan said.
“Yes, that’s Mark’s truck,” his mom agreed.
Then Ethan pointed to the blue vehicle. “Tee cah,” Ethan said.
“Yes, that’s Terri’s car,” his mom said.
Ethan wandered between the two vehicles and pulled on the door handle of my car. Of course, he was too small and didn’t have the strength to open a car door. I helped him open it and together, we stared inside. Ethan turned and looked up at me standing behind him and then looked back into the car.
“You wanna go in,” I asked?
He turned to look at me again and nodded. Ethan is all boy. He climbed all by himself until he was in my passenger seat. He stared at the steering wheel and then turned to me again with a silent question written all over his face.
“You wanna drive,” I asked?
A smile spread across Ethan’s face and he nodded again, then climbed across to the driver’s seat. So Ethan drove (he had to stand up on the seat to see over the wheel) and I was the passenger. I talked to him while he drove and he pointed at the speedometer and told me, “clock.” He pushed buttons on the radio and tried to beep the horn, but couldn’t get it to make noise. He turned to look over his shoulder and make sure Mommy and Daddy were still out in the driveway waiting for him. There they were, talking with Mark while Ethan drove and I rode. I asked, “Do you want to go see Mommy and Daddy now?”
“No,” Ethan said, still driving somewhere far away and exciting.
Eventually, Ethan’s mom said he had to go eat dinner and our road trip in the garage came to a stop.
When Ethan saw me today, he remembered we drove and wanted to do it again. But before I could even get outside, his attention was drawn elsewhere and he ran between his yard and ours while his mom and I talked.
She told me they got an offer on the house. It’s been on the market for a few months. They got an offer today and they accepted it. They have to be out in six weeks.
I’m sad. I’m going to miss my neighbors. They are great neighbors. And I am sure going to miss my little driving buddy.