In the road I live in, there is a mixed age range of residents and I like it like that. There are a few families with younger children, a few with children around Dan Jon Jr's age, a few teenagers (Top Ender included), a few empty nesters and a few older residents, whose families are all grown up and long ago moved out or away to raise families of their own. It's this last category, these older residents that have been on my mind recently. We call them The Old Lady Gang because they are... well, old ladies.
Over the years, these residents have got to know my family pretty well. We stop and talk when we're on the School Run, or when we're playing on our bikes or scooters in the street. The children have delivered small secret gifts and we have all always waved as we walked past just in case they were looking out the window as we've passed.
More often than not, they are and they wave back.
It was a few Saturdays ago when I bumped into two of The Old Lady Gang in the local Supermarket that I first really got an inkling into how much they watch out for the children and me.
The two women we saw down the baking aisle were so happy to see Dan Jon Jr and I. They cooed over how handsome Dan Jon was (who happened to be in a suit as we were off to a Baptism) and jokingly complained that with my red dyed hair they didn't recognise me and I shouldn't do that to an old woman. And then one of them pulled me to one side, a knowing look being given from the other as she distracted Dan Jon by listening to his stories about baking and how awkward ties are to do up.
"Pippa, sorry but, have you and your old man split up? It's just we've not seen him for a bit and we've worried" she whispered
At the time I remember thinking it would be best not to laugh and hurriedly assured her that he and I were still very much married, very happy, and that it was probably because he had a new job where he didn't walk past their house to get to the train station as he drove now that she hadn't seen him for a while. The relief on her face was readily apparent and she and her friend carried on with their shopping whilst Dan Jon and I carried on with ours, with Flyfour and Top Ender rejoining us eventually.
I did laugh about it later when I spoke to Flyfour about it. The idea that he and I had split up was really amusing to me, as out of everyone I know I think we are probably the least likely to split up and it just seemed ludicrous to me. Flyfour didn't find it as amusing as I did but did find it reassuring that I thought it was so risible.
They weren't being nosey, they were showing genuine concern. They were trying to work out how best to support me and my little family based on the information they had.
I was being accepted into their gang.
I've been trying to think how I can show my appreciation for the concern they showed me. Somehow the usual waving each day doesn't seem enough.
What would you do? How does one show appreciation for being accepted into a gang of old ladies?!