There's a girl who lives down the hall. She loves pink, and Hello Kitty, and has shoes that glitter and shine when she walks. The Girl Down The Hall wears her hair in pigtails that tumble down her back and pool into perfect ringlets, brown and sweet. Each morning on the way to school, she gets into the car together with my daughter, and asks for Tu Tu Man (Ultra Man) on the DVD player. My girl calls for Tu Tu Man too, even though she's a bit scared of Japanese super heros.
The Girl Down the Hall taught mine to say "NO!" and mean it; how to snatch back a stolen toy; and to climb on the coffee table and not be afraid. And when I tell her we're going down the hall to see The Girl, Stella runs five paces ahead of me and laughs the whole way.
There's a boy down the hall. He's three years older than the Girl, and has a smile that will shatter you. He likes to ask why, and what's this, and to practice his golf swing. He'll furnish compliments on your shoes or your bag, then turn around and karate chop the air. My girl karate chops now, too.
I ran out of diapers yesterday at nap time. But I didn't worry, I ran down the hall with my girl on my hip, and borrowed two from The Girl and The Boy's mother. I didn't worry about ringing the bell, and waking them, or intruding on family time or otherwise putting them out. I knew they'd be happy to lend a diaper, chat for a moment, and then say, "Okay, see you tomorrow."
The Girl Down the Hall calls me Mama, or sometimes Auntie, but my husband is always Uncle Papi.
I picked up The Girl from school today, and only once did she ask where her Mommy was, then climbed into my lap. She shared a snack in the car with Stella, who remarked upon the fact that they both have curly hair.
We got home and I told The Girl's mother that I've found my village. She laughed at me, but I know she know's it's true.