Just keep it casual, my husband suggested. It's okay, Gimky, call her! You can do it.
Lily's mom didn't pick up and I left a message with the sweetest, laid back voice I could muster. Thanks for yesterday, Belac had a great time.... Hope the electricity comes back soon and let me know if there's anything I can do in the meantime... By the way, I'm bringing Belac to town for some ice cream, does Lily want to come? If you get this message in the next half hour, just let me know. Otherwise we'll see you some other time.
Minutes later, Caroline called. No electricity and Lily would love to go for ice cream.
Belac jumped up and down upon hearing the news. Did I mention what a treasure Lily is to him?
I picked her up and off we went. The kids played air hockey and she beat him 19-1. Good job! Good try! she kept telling Belac throughout. They both had chocolate ice cream and made messes of their faces. I gave them each 2 quarters and they played pin ball. I kept refocusing Belac to pay attention to Lily's game. An hour later, we headed back.
I chatted a little with Lily's mom. In passing she mentioned that they hadn't showered in 3 days. Caroline! Come over and shower at our place! Really!!
She was hesitant. Maybe....
Really! It's no imposition at all!
The surprising thing is. They came. Not only that, she took me up on my taking her dead cell phone home to charge until she shlepped over later with her kids. And when the kids took turns showering, they all gathered around Jake, who read freaky facts from his Guinness Book of World Records. And even after they showered and my husband was home, the mom lingered to talk to him for the next half hour and basically had to drag her kids out so we could all get going on our dinner plans. Though they were meeting their dad at a restaurant, they were in no rush.
Gimky, my husband shrugged, it's clear that she likes us. And you know what I think? There's a story on their side, too. Definitely. I just know it. There's something a little off and there's also something... odd with their son. It occurred to me that maybe they aren't close enough to anyone else to ask for a shower. We barely know them, you know, and it's a little strange - considering we only moved to Sunny Patch last year - that they came here of all places.... I know! I agreed. Something rang true to me about what he was saying. Lily's family seemed so decidedly formal and mysterious in a way.
Whatever happened, it was nice that some more of the ice had been broken. I even hugged the mom good-bye, which I don't think she at all expected. If there's ever a way we can return the favor, she kept saying. And all I wanted to just say was. As long as Lily wants it and no matter what you hear about Belac, please just let the kids remain friends.