Completely bemused, we looked at the bags then up and down the street. No, our front steps were the only ones thus adorned. My first thought was that it was a neighborhood game; you leave stuff anonymously and request the recipient 'pay it forward' in a similar way which sounded like a really fun thing to do. Then we noticed that each bag had a note on it 'boy' and 'girl' so it probably wasn't a neighborhood thing...but it was a neighbor and I thought I knew who.
I was right.
We all have that one neighbor who seems a bit odd; a busybody, someone who you suspect might not be all there, the lonely lady who 'adopts' the neighborhood children, the one who goes all-out at holiday decorating. You exchange pleasantries with them but keep a bit of distance since their eyes are unblinking and slightly crazed-looking. But it doesn't matter because those are the neighbors who will be first in line to help. And our angel's name is Jan. She loves the kids, always has time to talk to them, ask them about their days, make them feel important. When the axle of the van broke last October, she ran right over in her dressing gown at 7:30 in the morning along with her husband to help me push the van back into our parking spot so we weren't blocking the rest of the street from being able to get out of the neighborhood. When it was clear I wasn't going anywhere that day, she brought over some small toys and treats for the kids. But this time, this time she outdid herself and for no other reason than to give them a 'End of School Year/Happy Summer' bag of fun.
Noah loved his stickers so much, he immediately began decorating EVERYTHING.
The adults weren't left out either.
So thank you Jan. It was such a small thing to you, but to me, it helped me to remember that, well, Samwise Gamgee said it best: