Over the past few years I have watched a phenomenon happen. As I was walking home from the bus stop this morning I realized there is something sort of magical that occurs there. It's a place where, usually, women gather every morning and afternoon for a short period of time and during those times we all learn snippets about each other.
In my neighborhood we are fortunate that our bus stop is at our neighborhood park. This creates a wonderful time in that, on days weather permitting, the kids want to stay and play for a while. Sometimes this for a while turns in to an hour, sometimes it's 10 minutes. You never know. But usually we are there for some time with each other. If one of is late, we tell the bus driver, no worries, we'll take care of them until the mom gets here. If we are stuck someplace we can call someone and say, "will you be there and tell them not to worry, I'm coming". All of our kids are comfortable with this. They know they are in good hands. We have quite an array of "moms" at our stop. We have Dr's, Grad students, ministers, Speech paths, almost anything you need, we have it. It's sort of an unlikely group of friends who all bond together at 8:00 am and 4:00 pm 5 days a week. It is wonderful to know we all have each others backs.
Sometimes we talk about the kids, sometimes it's school, sometimes it is about ourselves as women. But what I have noticed is that these are people we don't know a whole lot about. I really don't know their whole families. I hear about the high school age daughters, husbands etc but really if I ran into them on the street I wouldn't know who they were. Yet I consider these people my friends and someone I let my kids go to their houses. We have built the relationships over time. We share joys, but we also share our pains. We can in 10 or 20 minutes unload what is going on, often cry, and then move on with our day. No one tries to fix anything. Usually we nod and say we understand and let me know if I can do anything. Sometimes when situation calls for it, we make meals for people, or go in on a plant or flower arrangement, signed, the bus stop moms. But I have come to rely upon these people and share with them. When appropriate they can say "wow that sucks, I'm sorry that happened" And that can be the end of it. Because really isn't that what women want? They don't want someone to solve their problems. They want someone to listen, or not listen, if you need to cry you just do, and then you move on.
I had a call during the day last year, saying can you get him from the bus stop I'm stuck at the hospital for a test. It went long. Is everything OK I ask? No, I have a tumor, is the reply. So I get the child from the bus stop. He's not worried, he gets a play date and the parents get piece of mind that they can deal with their immediate problem. We visit her in the hospital, bring her food, make her laugh and hope we did enough. Luckily this time, everything turned out ok.
The day after Obama was elected 3 of stayed and cried at the joy of knowing our world had changed forever.
Today someone was crying at the bus stop. She has a LOT going on. And you never knew it. She shared what it was, said "wow that felt good to say out loud". Then turned around, walked away and went to work. We all said how sorry we were, how can we help. And we mean it. We would all step up at any time. But really we did the most important thing of all, we gave her an outlet. An outlet to someone who doesn't know who your talking about, has no emotional connection to, just a sounding board. It's a beautiful thing.
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