Thursday, October 21, 2010

Being Neighbourly

We've been supremely blessed in the neighbour department over the last several years.

When my eldest was born, we moved to a court where there were lots of other families with young children. We ended up living there happily for 7 years, certainly in part due to the neighbours. We all seemed to have children in the same sort of age ranges, and we all became friends as well. The children would play out in all weather, while we adults stood around chatting, drinking coffee. (or sometimes other beverages!) We watched each others children, hosted play dates and birthday parties, organized neighbourhood pumpkin decorating and Easter Egg Hunts. We went out as adults for dinners and dancing and movies and more. It was definitely a support network and gave one a sense of trust and security.

People started to trickle away slowly, one at a time. They moved on to bigger homes or different life events. I think we were the last to go, as we got moved for my husband's job to another city a few hours away. I was sad, but also terrified. I was fairly confident that we would never find somewhere like "the court" again.

Yet, we did. We moved to another court in our new city. Again, full of parents of kids of all ages and sizes. Some of those parents were just starting out on this parenting gig journey, and others were old hands. As the months turned into years, we found ourselves sitting out with beverages in hand, watching children play. We walked right into each others homes, spent occasions combining meals, had neighbourhood block parties and spent days in our jammies watching the Olympics together. Once again, we'd struck gold.

Now, here we are once more. We've been moved to the opposite end of the country this time. We don't live on a court, but it's a crescent. We haven't seen neighbours out chatting very much, or just sitting out. There aren't tons of kids playing everywhere you look. We were okay with that, though. We figured it was nice and quiet-which is also nothing to scoff.

We found out then that two boys are actually in my younger daughters' class. Not only that, they sit at her table. We started chatting to their parents, and the invitation was extended for us to join them at the pumpkin patch. Since then, they've had our daughter in for play dates and taken her with them to a birthday party. Other neighbours have started to say hello more, and have come over to introduce themselves. One older man, a retired principal, said he often cuts my grass when he cuts his own. He had done that for the previous resident.

Yesterday, the doorbell rang. As we don't really know many people here, yet, I figured it was someone selling something. We opened the door to an older woman, who turned out to be the wife of the older man. She had two gift bags in her hand and a card. She introduced herself, explained that the card had their number on it (as well as their two sons who live 20 mins from here, in case we needed someone in an emergency) and a welcome with some of their background. The gift bags were for the girls. After chatting a bit, she left with my promise to have her in for a tea once we were finished painting and a bit more settled. The girls opened the bags to reveal a Webkinz each! As a parent with Webkinz mania, I know they aren't cheap. We were, frankly, a little beyond shocked. While we were bringing ourselves out of our awe, I heard the lawn mower start up, and there was the man now cutting my backyard and then raking my leaves!

My girls ran up to make thank you cards, even before "adopting" and naming their pets.

They've asked for our number too, in case they may need us. I'm off to find a little something to give back to them now, to thank them for their warm extension of "Welcome." This may not be a court, and it may not be as geared toward children, but it's already starting to feel a bit more like "home."

It looks like we've been blessed once more.

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