Monday, February 16, 2009


Our neighborhood babysitter is moving away this week...where we don't know. She doesn't know either but hopefully it will be to somewhere permanent and not to a shelter or her car. Her husband lost his job tree climbing and trimming last summer and she is legally blind and can not work outside of her home. She receives government money (SSI) but it is not enough to cover the rent. So they have been living in their rented house without making any payments for the last five months.

It's been a long five months and many things have transpired in that time frame. My neighbor lost her power for a short period of time and we had her family over for dinners. Other neighbors allowed them do their laundry at their house while they were at work. Everyone in our neighborhood that is friends with her offered her something to help ease the situation. Her full-time babysitting gig that she had for a set of twin girls fell through when their own mom became very ill with a liver problem. She too lost her house in the process, moved to an apartment, and became hospitalized several times due to a failing kidney. The outlook for the twin's mom is grim and most likely a transplant is looking bleak. Through it all my neighbor has maintained a pretty positive outlook on life and her situation. I have to give her props because had it been me going through an eviction without any external family around and without any opportunity to earn money I would have become a basket case. She, on the other hand, seems almost immune to the road that lies ahead.

She told me once she has to stay positive so that her daughter doesn't see her cry otherwise it would be difficult for her to go to school everyday and stay focused. I was impressed by this but also very worried and panicked for her. Every day she would tell me that she called another set of apartment listings, was refused section 8, couldn't qualify for public housing, and was called again by the landlord who was again asking for all of his money. I knew at some point her luck at staying in the house would come to an end but I guess it my mind it seemed different than the reality that actually existed.

Over the past weekend I had heard from another neighbor that there were trucks in front of the house. So I called my neighbor and she told me about the packing and moving that had been occurring. She said that she had another day or two and then they would have all of their belongings out. It still seemed surreal to me. She's lived in that house since I moved into mine. She's a big part of the neighborhood. It was starting to feel like an end of an era but still not totally real to me. She said she found a place for her daughter to go but as for she and her husband and the family dog it was still undecided...possibly a friend's house, a hotel, the car...somewhere.

I can't wrap my head around all of this. I can't imagine packing up my belongings and not having any idea where I was going. This is the first person I ever let watch my daughter when she had just turned a year old. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had went to dinner for my birthday at a restaurant that has since closed down and I remember how worried and freaked out I was to leave Liv at home with a stranger. Today I would leave both my girls with her and know that I was leaving them with a friend.

I went over to check out the progress today. There's still 2 days worth of stuff to move out but it's do-able. The landlord has called her 3 times today asking if they are out yet. The pressure is definitely on and I could feel it in the house. But the real feeling I got when I walked around the house was that my friend was moving, not my neighbor, not the girl's sitter, but my friend and it was sad. I get know why she walked around as if nothing was happening. It's way more than just moving to somewhere- it's leaving behind the things that can't be trapped behind the four walls of that rundown house. A lot of her friends are here, the kids are here, her memories are here. Every day my girls ask if she's coming over or if that's her voice they hear outside. One day my daughters' memories of her presence will fade and that's sad to me because she loves them dearly and they love her.

I will miss my friend when she finishes her move to where ever. Hopefully it will be somewhere close so she can still hangout sometimes. But if it isn't I wish her and her family well and I hope life turns around for the best for them.

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