A new family moved in to our neighborhood. I am generally an outgoing person, so I connected with the lady, named Rachel. They have children similar ages to mine. But for some reason, she just rubbed me the wrong way. She would ask for help and when I would offer a suggestion, she would shoot it down. She would ask me simple questions about things in town, and after I explained where to find the answers online, she still kept asking about them even though I said I didn’t know offhand.
In the midst of this, I got my giving card. “A loved one” – I kept thinking of something that would be mind-blowing or earth-shatteringly awesome for my children, my husband, my close friends… and I kept thinking of Rachel. Their family just closed on their house and were staying in an Extended Stay place. None of their stuff had arrived from the several-week journey the barges take to get stuff up to Alaska. They closed on the house last Monday and their stuff arrived Tuesday at noon. Rachel expressed concern about the shape of the house. It had been unoccupied for several months. She didn’t want to move all of her stuff into a house that hadn’t been cleaned for ages.
I knew immediately how to help! I rallied several friends of mine (also with kids similar ages) and set up a play group at her house Tuesday morning. Then, I headed to the store and purchased $20 worth of cleaning supplies. Last Tuesday, in the brief period between owning her house and moving her stuff in, we swooped in and helped make it feel like a home (while our kids enjoyed running and exploring an empty house!). Rachel seemed relieved we had a solution to the problem and so many people were willing to come help her.
The charge to give it to a loved one haunted me. It would have been easier to just get someone I know an awesome gift, but I wouldn’t have changed. I don’t know that Rachel and I will ever be besties (do the kids still say that?), but everyone needs a “loved one” in a new neighborhood… especially when it’s Alaska!