The 84 Year Old Text

Two weeks ago I packed up the mini-van and prepared for the annual trip to Texas to see family. All the doctors, therapists, and mail deliverers had been notified. Then I told my next door neighbor, Miss Rita and her sister Miss Joan. Miss Rita has no children or grandchildren, so she adopted mine. Miss Joan decided to be an adopted aunt. 

These are amazing, precious women. They love me and they LOVE my boys. 

When Miss Rita realized she would have to go a few weeks without seeing “her baby”, she began to cry.

i'm having a moment

Unbreak my heart!

She spent the day before our trip soaking up every free minute with my kids and warned me to send text message pictures of “her baby and Big Brother” to Miss Joan’s phone.

Now when a dearly loved woman who spends hours helping your child with physical therapy and just loving on him insists you send pictures, you do it! Every few days I sent a picture or two of an adorable smile or cute expression. She called to tell me Miss Joan had driven right over to show her the pictures. All was well.


Then one night my phone’s text message sound buzzed and I casually checked it. I saw THIS picture.


This is Miss Joan holding a spoon full of a dessert from Chick-fil-A out for “Rita’s Baby”. They were missing my kiddo’s “sugars”.

A woman in her 80s just sent a selfie to my 19 month old son. Seriously.

This is one of my favorite text messages of all time.

Not only is this amazing because a woman that is our grandmother’s age is using technology most won’t believe, but for the reason– to show great love.


He loves them back, believe me.

No excuses bind these women from loving us, their neighbor, as themselves. 

Are they too old for technology? Clearly not. Too busy or tired? Never; she calls me to babysit while I take the older one to speech therapy or when she is home from visiting home-bound friends.  Do they adhere to old stereotypes about disabilities? No; God gave me a neighbor who taught special education for 30 years.

Miss Rita told me that she barely knew most of her neighbors and they’ve lived together for 20 years. 20 YEARS. No one took the time to get to know her. All she needed to see was a baby in a stroller and an exhausted mother who gladly let her hold the crying baby.

We have some life-inflicted wounds. She has no young family members to lavish love and teaching on. I don’t have my parents or grandparents nearby. When we come together we are the Body of Christ to each other. We breathe life into each other.

There is GREAT value in our often forgotten elderly. Her patience with my firstborn as he rearranges her family pictures and learns to look at her delicate decorations with his eyes but not his hands has reassured him he is loved for who he is, not how he acts.

Yes, my baby boy received a selfie from a girlfriend that is much too old for him.I’ve never been happier about it. This is what loving your neighbor looks like.