There I stood meeting our new backyard neighbors for the first time. The ones whose house looks like a cover picture of Better Homes and Garden. A beautiful, tranquil, childless backyard that resembles more of a spa than a home. I glance down at my 3 mohawked boys, one wearing a diaper that should have been changed hours ago and is now dangerously close to dragging the ground. The only thing keeping you from noticing his droopy drawers would be the insane amount of red Georgia mud that is caked into his hair, the side of his face, down his arm and plastered on his chubby bare feet! I look to the other side and notice that Audrey's hair had not been fixed today and is standing amazingly higher than I think I've ever seen hair stand without product. In the distance I can hear Asher has woken up from his nap and is crying in his crib and I keep thinking about the chicken that I think I took out of the oven.
My mind snaps back to my new friend as she, with much excitement, tells me about her concern for my children because they are putting their hands through the fence and her dog is not friendly to children. And there are snakes and BIG dangerous spiders in these woods! Then she talks about her tea cup poodle who had a heart condition and died 3 weeks ago and then briefly turns her attention to the children, who look like they rolled out of a feed barn, and wonders aloud "who the screamer might be?" She, not so casually, mentions how the previous kids never played in these woods so they have never had a problem. And then tells me how her dogs are getting used to all the screaming.
I can tell she is so worked up she is about to burst at the seams and my mind drifted off again to just 30 min prior when I was on the phone with Gianna's therapist and saw my new friend standing at the fence to speak to me and I gave her the finger...you know, the "I'm on the phone, I'll be there in a minute finger." I think about how at that time my kids, unknown to me, had jumped the fence and were shoveling big piles of red clay on each others head. Then I remember that as I came to the fence to meet her I apologized profusely for giving her "the finger" and mentioned I was on the phone with our therapist... but I don't think I clarified it was the kid's therapist.
I then thanked her so much for talking to me about it and assured her that the kids will not be playing near that fence and if they are I would love for her to tell me about it. She gives me a casual, nervous "welcome to the neighborhood" while her friend tells me about a 36 acre farm she has for sale up in Loganville if we are interested. I smile goodbye, gather my mud pies for dinner feeling for the first time very out of place in this manicured neighborhood. And trying to chase off the longing for the smell of manure, the deep rumble of an old tractor and a wide open field to run in.