Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gratitude, part 5

It's a little like camping.

You know how it is. You go to the mountains/beach/desert, and set up your tent. The canvas, poles, and stakes combine to make a little home-away-from-home. You move your stuff in, and then look around at the other campers. Maybe your best friend's tent is a few trees away, so you visit their tent. A kind of canvas neighborhood is established, and good feelings abound.

This is how I feel about my neighborhood. It took a few years for us to have good neighbor-neighbors (like the ones that live right next door, or across the street) but it happened. My house is in the midst of other houses with people who I appreciate and love so much.

Neighbors are who you call when your kid is sick and you have a meeting at work that you can't get out of. They check him out of school for you (because neighbors are always on the "safe" list of other people who can check out your children), bring him home, and get him set up to wait until you can arrive. They feed your cats for you when you go on vacation. They are always there in a pinch when you need a can of beans to finish dinner, or a random spice for a new recipe. They are who you see when you go to Kohls at 9pm to do some Christmas shopping; they find the bliss of quiet, kid-free browsing as therapeutic as you do. And when you see them 15 minutes later talking to another more distant neighbor, you aren't surprised. They become friends who are indispensible. Their kids are your kids, and vice-versa.

I love my neighbors, and neighborhood. Sure there are things I could complain about (like entire packages of raw hot dogs thrown over my fence in 100+ degree weather, only to be found a week later while mowing; blech!), but the good things about the people I live near outweigh the bad. It is satisfying to walk across the street in my pajamas to have a good chat. I can't count how many barbecues, game nights, visits to the park, and plates of cookies I've enjoyed in the 10 years we have lived here. I just know how happy I am for the families who live near me, and grateful that I get to associate with them on a day-to-day, year-after-year basis.

So, as I sit in my kitchen and look outside my "tent" window at all the other "tents" lining my street, I'm glad we are all wound up in the same windy, hilly, out-of-the-way campground. The camping is pretty good around here.


Apryl said...

Wait, you know your neighbors? Yeah. This house has been occupied by the same family for 20 years, and I think they only know 3... I envy you!