We are continuing our visit up north, and are still staying with my mother. A little over two years ago, my parents downsized from my childhood home to a two-bedroom apartment. While this meant a significant adjustment for them both, they agreed that it was a good move. Now that my dad is no longer here, it is clear that this apartment is just the right spot for my mother to be.
The building is not what I typically think of when I think of apartments. There is an interior atrium, for lack of a better word, and all of the apartments face inward toward it. This makes it very conducive to running into your neighbors coming and going, and for lingering in the halls for pleasant conversation. There are tenants of every age and you can hear the occasional cry of a baby, or the laughter of children. They are all caring and supportive of each other, and I know that when we are not here, my mom is surrounded by people who look out for her.
Directly below my mom is a family with two young boys. The "Elf on the Shelf" has been making regular visits and mischief since the first of the month, in and around their apartment and the atrium. It has been fun each day to see where he will end up. Everyone in the building has been enjoying his merry-making.
I miss having a little boy to share the holidays with, and the "Elf in the Shelf" was not popular when Alex was young. So - I am enjoying this vicariously while I can.