9 years old
I watch with excitement as two moving trucks pull down our street and stop at the empty house across from ours. The old couple who had lived in that house for all of my nine years had sold it at the end of spring, and the new family was finally moving in.
Please have kids! I think to myself.
I watch with anticipation, hoping that a boy my age would climb out of one of the vehicles that followed the trucks in. But before anyone could get out of the van, one of the moving trucks blocks my view of the driveway.
“Sam, get your shoes on. It’s time to leave,” my mom yells.
“Yes, ma’am,” I call out to her as I leave the window and go to get ready.
As we back out of the driveway, I keep my eyes glued to the neighbors’ house, continuing my search for a playmate. Not many kids live on our street and being an only child, I get lonely often.
“When we get home from the store, you can come with me to welcome our new neighbors to the neighborhood, unless you’d like for me to drop you off at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and you can come home later with Dad,” my mom says, pulling my attention away as we drive out of our neighborhood.
“I’d rather come back home with you. I’m hoping that some kids moved in across the street.”
My mom’s errands take what feels like forever to finish, when it was probably only an hour or two tops.
As soon as we pull into the driveway, I see kids in the other yard.
They are running through a sprinkler.
One boy. Yes!
One girl. I can work with that.
And best of all, they look about my age. Even better!
“Mom, Mom, can I go play with them? Please?” I practically beg.
“Help me bring in the groceries and then we can go introduce ourselves. If their parents are okay with it, then yes, you can play.”
I help my mom with the groceries with lightning speed; the excitement of meeting the new kids across the street fuels my eagerness to help get everything put away as fast as I can.
As soon as the last item is away, I bounce my way to the front door, ready to go.
“Wait just a second, Sam.” My mom laughs. “Let me grab a plate of cookies to take with us.”
As my mom assembles cookies on a plate and then covers it, I watch out the window as the kids play across the street.
“Okay, I’m ready if you are,” Mom tells me as she stops in front of the door.
I open it for her and we head across the street.
As we approach the front door, my mom reaches out and rings the doorbell at the same time we hear the boy call out at us.
“Hi!” I tell him. “I live across the street, and I was hoping to play with you guys.”
The front door opens, and a tired-looking woman steps forward.
“Hello, I’m Amy and this is my son, Sam. We live just across the street and wanted to welcome your family to the neighborhood,” my mom tells her, handing her the plate of cookies.
“Thank you so much. I’m Debra, and that’s Steven and Lauren. My husband, Dave, is around here somewhere. How are you today, Sam?” she asks me.
“I’m great, thank you. Can I play with them?” I ask, nodding in the direction of the kids playing in the yard.
“Of course, go have fun.”
I run off immediately, skidding to a halt in front of the boy and girl playing together, catching their attention.
“Hi, I’m Sam. Can I play with you guys?”
“Hi, I’m Steven, and this is my sister, Lauren. Do you want to run through the sprinkler with us?” Steven asks.
“I’ll need to ask my mom and run home to change first,” I tell him. She gives me the go-ahead, and I run home as fast as I can to change and get back outside to play with my new friends.
* * *
Lauren, Steven, and I play in the sprinkler for what feels like hours. We ran all over the yard, both theirs and my own, until we were worn out and starving. After a quick supper for all of us, we were back outside, playing until everyone had to get to bed.
“Today was the best day ever,” I tell my parents as we talk before I climb into bed. “I can’t believe I finally have friends that live so close!”
“It sure does appear we hit the jackpot with our new neighbors,” my mom says. “I’m glad you had so much fun today with them, Sam.”
“Can I play again with them tomorrow?”
“I’m sure you can. Just make sure to stay out of the way as Mr. and Mrs. Kramer are unpacking and trying to get everything put away inside the house.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I answer my mother. “Good night, I love you.”
“Love you, too, Sam. Now off to bed. We have church in the morning.”
I give her a hug before pulling the comforter over me and falling asleep with a smile on my face.