with Lynne and Leslie

Thank You, Mommy, For Taking My Laptop Cord

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

I have been planning to write this post for a few weeks, which is when this happened, but I kept putting it off. But in the light of the massacre in Charleston a few days ago, and in the need of some happiness, and some hope, it seemed appropriate.

So, it started when my mom was here for my son’s birthday. There was cake. There was ice cream. There was lots of laughter.

The boy in the fireman's outfit my mom got him.

The boy in the fireman’s outfit my mom got him.

Then my mom had to go back home, which is boo. She sometimes leaves things behind, so she was determined not to this time. And she took my laptop cord AND hers back to Arkansas.

So when she figured it out, she over-nighted my cord to me. But it didn’t get right to me.

The package once it came home. But we aren't there yet.

The package once it came home. But we aren’t there yet.

Thank you Postal Lady, for thinking misreading our address. Because the package ended up at a neighbor’s house.

Thank you Mommy, for putting my phone number on it, so that the neighbor knew how to get in touch with me. And also, thank you United States Postal Service for charging so much for overnight delivery, because it made my neighbor want to find me that much more because of how much Mommy paid. But thank you, USPS, for delivering overnight at all. It’s a quality service.


And thanks to my neighbor for calling me, and thank you to me (you’re welcome, Me!) for answering the phone, because at first I thought it was a robocall or something because I didn’t know the number. But thank you to the neighbor for being neighborly.

And that is really the takeaway from this. We have lived in this house for almost 4 years, and I have never had a conversation with this lady. And she pretty much lives right across the street. When we first got here, I had this idea that I would go around to everyone on our racially-diverse block with cookies and a note that said “Hi!”, and well, the only cookies that I have made have gone in my family’s mouths pretty much. I do know our next-door neighbors pretty well, and I know the lady next to them enough to say hi, and I know the elderly couple in their 90’s next to her. I know that the husband drives his wife across the street to get her hair done by a neighbor, who turns out to be the lady I just met. And I said, “We’ve been here for four years”, and she said, “I know!”, and she said, “I heard that house was so nice inside!”, and I commented on her mailbox that is in the shape of a house that looks like her actual house, and how I always loved it. Which means that for all this time, we have known things ABOUT each other, but not taken the time to actually know each other.

We think that we know people’s full stories, when we only know pieces of things, and we make decisions about who they are based on half-things. And sometimes those are benign conclusions, like we drew, and sometimes they are negative ones, and we are running with ideas based on nothing but observations grounded in guesses. And that can lead to the toxic level of distrust of the “Other” that we have in this nation.

So my neighbor and her husband and I talked for a good 20 minutes while my son ran around her yard, and we both decided that there needs to be a neighborhood cookout or something this summer, and I hope this happens. But I know that I walked back across the street feeling good, and also feeling sorry that it took this long. But I hope that we can get to know each other, one cookout at a time, one wave across the street at a time. Nope. We need to MAKE this happen. And it all started because my mom took my laptop cord. I hope that the desire just to know people will be enough one day.


The cord that started it all. And my mom's apology, which is what my son says when he does stuff "accidentally".

The cord that started it all. And my mom’s apology, which is what my son says when he does stuff “accidentally”.

2 Responses to “Thank You, Mommy, For Taking My Laptop Cord”

  1. mstampfl@presentationhs.org' Monica Stampfl says:

    We moved to our neighborhood 4 years ago. Each month, one of my neighbors hosts a soup night. Everyone is invited. Those that can, come and bring a dish to share. We know everyone and where they live and how they are doing. I love it. You could do that too.

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