07 May A Window on the Future of Our Community
The blue tape was clearly in place to protect the window sills from spackling and paint, but it worked overtime at the house on NE 30th Terrace in Cape Coral last week, just like the Habitat for Humanity crew in charge of the renovation. I know that because my Women Build companion and I spent a good part of a day scraping, peeling, rubbing and scrubbing to get the blue remnants off the matte silver border around the front living room panes.
As if a tag team of wrestlers, my counterpart Andrea worked on the window for the morning shift, then we worked together as I unceremoniously tagged her out as I took the afternoon with 409, brillo pads and a Google search on the best ways to remove old window tinting.
The simple house was being converted into a family’s home by the best of our area’s homemakers who also happened to be female leaders in our community. From an interior designer, a deli owner, a school nurse, a nonprofit leader, an accountant, an insurance marketer and oncology services administrator, we combined our talents. We also pooled our lack of skills to do our best in prepping the home for major work to commence the next day of Women Build, a special Habitat for Humanity project to build/renovate two homes in two weeks to present to the women owners on Mother’s Day weekend. Earning the housekeeping seal of approval was our collective goal for the new homeowner, Vanessa.
We learned that Vanessa is currently living with her two sons, a 5 year old and an infant, in a two-family household with her parents. She dreams of becoming a counselor and is almost finished with her bachelor’s degree. This single mother has accomplished much on her own, proudly without government assistance. She has worked weekends and nights on the Habitat home as part of her sweat equity, and someone mentioned that she hopes to have a swing set of her own in the backyard someday.
I still want to go back and work on that window sill, but please don’t tell my husband. As a co-chair of one of the Women Build teams, I have never scrubbed my own windows as thoroughly, or as carefully. And, I worry that the next person may not care as much as I do.
As I scraped, prodded and destroyed my fingernails, I couldn’t help but stare out of the window and imagine what Vanessa might see looking out of the windows of her future. Images danced off the blurry glued and window tinted background of the sunlit sky to my west.
I saw a baby stroller, tricycles and big wheels, training wheels and skateboard ramps. I saw skinned knees and tears, flower baskets and a dog playing catch. I imagined a mom holding a fevered infant by that window coughing late into the starry night. I saw another car in the driveway and a pensive mother waiting for her teenager to arrive home safely. I saw birthday parties, graduations and family gatherings. I saw sparklers and fireworks on the 4th of July and a basketball hoop at the edge of the roadway.
As if a flat crystal ball at the entrance of this humble abode, I saw many things ahead for Vanessa and her family. It was then that I realized I was there for just a moment, but Vanessa and her home will be the host of many moments. She’ll never quite know about the wishes and hopes left for her on that window sill, and hopefully she will just see the blur of pendulating swings and the sounds of giggling boys.
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