Yesterday morning started out like any other. I said goodbye to the big boys and watched them board their school bus. Then, as we often do, Marshall and I went for a stroller ride/jog around the neighborhood.
I wasn't exactly feeling the run and I had already stopped to walk a portion of it, but I had just decided to pick up the pace once again and I was back to running when I saw them. I saw 3 colored children who appeared to be of school age, riding on 2 bikes, with their backpacks. My first thought was "maybe they do home school and that is why they are not at school", but then they approached us.
The oldest girl (10) asked me if I could give her directions to Akin Road Elementary (the school where my boys also attend), stating that they had missed their bus and they were lost on their walk. Being that we were only about a 10 minute walk from school, I quickly agreed to walk with them, to be sure they made it safely (the other children were a boy about 8 and a little girl about 6, all siblings). But a few steps closer toward the school, the oldest girl started to show concern over not having a lock for their bikes and fearing they would be stolen. Also, the littlest girl did not have a bike, so she was trying to share her big sister's bike and it was not going so smoothly.
At this point, I asked the children if they thought it would be alright with their parents if I gave them a ride to school, promising to communicate this to them as soon as I could. They reluctantly agreed. We then headed in the direction of their house, to drop off the bikes, and on the way I spoke with the oldest girl. She was extraordinarily polite and continued to thank me for helping them out. She asked questions about my family and where we lived.
The children lead the way to their house, which happened to be only about a block from ours. They parked their bikes in the garage, and as they closed the garage door, their Grandma stepped out of the house. She was a frail woman, dressed in scarves, and spoke no English. Even the children had a hard time communicating with her about what had happened on their way to school. With little to no understanding, she agreed that I could give the children a ride to school and she stood in the driveway as we walked on.
As we continued on toward our house, the littlest girl recognized the area and knew that some friends of hers lived nearby. The oldest girl also recalled stopping at our house this past summer to drop off a flyer (which I also remembered).
The house that we live in is very similar to the house that they lived in, but as we walked up the driveway, all 3 children began to tell me how beautiful our house was and how wonderful it was that we had 2 cars (which they did as well). When I told them that my husband had taken the other car to work, the littlest girl asked me if I had a wedding ring and then quickly came over to admire it.
Next, I opened the doors to the minivan and began to move the car seats around, making room for everyone. They once again began to compliment the van and how much space there was, as they buckled up their seat belts.
As I drove to school, we listened to Christian music on the radio and Marshall asked me to turn it up, so I did. The children were quiet as we drove and once again thanked me repeatedly when we arrived. I parked the van at the curb by the front door of the school and watched as the oldest girl held the door for her siblings and they all walked in.
After dropped them off at school, I felt like I needed to return to their house and let their Grandmother know they were safe (in whatever way I could communicate with her). Marshall and I walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell--3 times and no answer. I was disappointed as we returned to our car, but then a woman stepped outside. She was not the same woman I had met earlier. She was a colored woman, who was wrapping on her scarves as we talked--her English was also very poor, but we were able to communicate a little. I tried to explain to her what had happened with the children and how they were now safe at school. She gave Marshall and I a hug and said "God Bless you" and then we went home.
I spent the next several hours thinking about what had just happened...in my quiet, white Farmington neighborhood, and I realized how little I know about new neighborhood and the people in it. I realized how difficult it must be to live in a place where you don't speak the language and how hard that must also be for your English-speaking children. I thought about how people from different cultures are so much more thankful than I am. I felt SO blessed to be able to be a part of the day for this family, to be able to meet a need for them.
Then after school, I sat down outside with my big boys to tell them the story of the morning, and as I did, the 3 children and their mother came walking up our driveway. I quickly stood up and walked toward them, and as I did, the mother put out her arms to hug me, and with tearful eyes said "thank you so much and God Bless you." Their mother, who was dressed as though she had come from work, spoke much better English that their grandmothers had (both ladies I had met earlier were grandmothers to the children, all living under the same roof). I was able to tell her exactly what had happened and she was able to tell me how frightened she was in the morning when she called the school and found out her children were not there yet.
I know this story may not seem super significant to you, but to me it was huge. These kids and their family made my day, and I feel like God put them in my path this morning for a reason. I will forever remember yesterday morning and those 3 little faces with polite little voices.