A few posts ago I wrote about the things I have learned since I’ve moved into my cozy little home on N. Luzerne, what I haven’t written about it was I have gained since I have moved here. I have to say that living my life with an audience is sometimes intimidating, but honestly I would not change it for the world! I finally have a shade on my kitchen window, however it’s up more than than it’s down and the kids are always poking their little heads in the window to find out what I am cooking for dinner, get a snack from the snack drawer, find out who’s visiting or just to tell me that they love me. Other times such as yesterday visits to my window are a little more unpleasant but they provide great learning opportunities, the kids sometimes have HUGE jealousy issues and I hear, “Ms. Colleen I wasn’t here and you gave everyone a snack that’s petty…you don’t even like me,” I have slowly learned and as I type this I giggle out loud to myself that sometimes agreeing with them is the best route, so I looked at her and I said, “N, you’re right I don’t like you very much right now, but I ALWAYS, did you hear that I ALWAYS love you, and the reason I don’t like you very much right now is because you’re at my house being EXTREMELY disrespectful.” As she stomped away screaming about how petty I was I said a little prayer for her knowing she’d be back in 10 minutes and I was correct she came right back, apologized and we talked about how sometimes when a special activity happens and she’s not here the other kids are going to get things she doesn’t. Just for the record she did not get a snack yesterday and we had one of the most beautiful teaching moments EVER!
I write all this to say, that when I moved here I never knew that my whole life would be under 24 hour surveliance, that I would have 20-25 kids, questioning who comes to visit me, wondering if every guy friend who comes to visit is my boyfriend, wondering who’s coming for dinner that night, letting me know when the UPS man missed me, causing me to have to plan for 10 extra minutes when I need to be somewhere because I am going to have to explain where I am going, when I will be back, who I am going to be with and if every time I leave the house looking “Fly” I am going on a date. Honestly, this is kind of one of my favorite things, knowing that the kids are just as invested (albeit it a little overwhelming sometimes) in my life as I am in theirs! However it goes beyond that, I’ve gained a mom in my neighbor, a grandma in Ms. Ida, and a whole slew of big brothers waiting to take someone down for me in the guys across the streets, I’ve gained friends, I’ve gained body guards and I’ve gained an audience.
On Thursday nights the Captivate Church band practices at our East Baltimore Campus, and almost every week you can find a few kids hanging out on the steps listening and peeking through the glass doors, this is one of my most favorite things to see if I’ve been out that night and come home while the band is still here! A couple of weeks ago I came home and the kids were perched on the steps, playing and listening and I heard, “Ms. Colleen you coming home from a date, you look nice…” as a matter of fact I was coming home from a date, so of course I told them that indeed finally I was coming home from a date, so you know that opened a up a new can of worms! “Who is he? What does he look like? You know we gotta like him? He needs a list.” So for 20 minutes I sat on the steps in front of the church with my “front row fans” as they laid out a criteria that my potential boyfriend must meet a list of things that we cut down from about 20 to 10. As I think about the list it makes me laugh, because this is not the first time I have had this conversation with these kids, most of them in 3-5th grade, so here’s the list which literally as I type this I am giggling again!
- He must not drive a truck, that makes him too country
- He must love Jesus, because Ms. Coco you love Jesus a lot
- He must like Us (being them) because if he don’t like us, we ain’t gonna like him
- He must bring you flowers once a month (this makes me giggle because I don’t even like flowers)
- He must play basketball with us when he’s here!
- He must like the hood, because Ms. Coco you ain’t never leaving us
- He must be big so he can protect you, and us!
- He must love you as much as we do, and if he don’t we gonna talk to him
- He must play with us
- He must be handsome because you can’t be with an ugly dude
If I wrote out the entire list you’d be here all day laughing, well about a week and a half later this person who I went on a date with stopped by for lunch, and was still here when the kids got out of school, wouldn’t you know it became 3:05 and there were four sets of eyes peering into the kitchen, “Ms. Colleen who’s that? He’s cute he somebody you dating? You look like Shaq…” A few days later I heard from my neighbors that word was spreading and I was kindly reminded that I was not allowed to date before he was approved :)!
Some day my life feels like a movie with a big audience and other days I long for privacy, I long for not everyone to be in my business! I wouldn’t trade my audience of 20 and built in bodyguards for anything in the world, I am so thankful for friends who love and neighbors who look out for me, and one of my most favorite times of the day is when there are eyes peeking in!