Melvin lives across the street in some sort of communal living home. He is well known to almost everyone on our block, a very friendly sort who doesn't seem to have anywhere to be or anything to do. This also means he has no time frame so friendliness is rewarded with very long conversations with Melvin about which you have no idea as he has a speech problem, making it nearly impossible to understand anything he says. This arrangement is just fine with Mary and Kate because they ramble on and on to anyone and Melvin is usually an attentive audience. He appears every time we go outside, and he likes to walk along with us which does complicate things. I'm chasing two tricycles and a beagle while making some attempt to nod appropriately and understand a bit of what Melvin is saying.
The beauty of the three year old is that they don't understand Melvin's challenges, they just see him as the friendly man across the street. They wave like mad when he appears yelling "MELVIN, HELLO MELVIN!!". Teaching my children that they are part of a greater community, and that it is their responsibility to give back, in whatever form that takes is very important to me. At what age will they begin to understand the implication? Today at lunch Kate noticed that the bananas on the kitchen island were getting a bit brown and smushy which means it's time to make banana bread. And then she suggested that we offer some to Melvin because "I don't think he has any banana bread Mom".
Isn't it bittersweet to see that she is starting to understand?