When I was growing up, Saturday and Sunday were big days for hosting family functions, neighborhood dinners. Friendly faces would stop by, without calling and stay for hours, eating, laughing and telling stories until the sun went down.
Now days, people rarely visit without calling first. Play dates are scheduled in advance. Our neighbors drive into their garage (the Bat Cave) and the door closes before they hop out of the car. What happened to “getting to know” your neighbors?
People often say, “Stephanie you know Everyone.” From my perspective, it doesn’t feel that way at all. But if you have enough kids, mishaps, oopsie days, lost dogs and hurt children, you’ll discover that community is all around you.
We have an old boat, the kind that helps you meet your neighbors. There’s a problem with this boat, more often than not. Either the battery has died, the motor blew up or the fuel gauge doesn’t work, and ultimately we’ve found ourself paddling with a pair of ski’s to the nearest house to call for help. (note to self: buy paddles). That’s how we made our newest friends.
Our 5 yr old fell head-first out of a pear tree. The limb broke. That’s how we met the fire department and later took them barbecue, got a tour of the fire truck, took pictures with the rescue team and the kids got to blow the horn. What a lovely day.
Our dog Max, (the escape artist) manages to wrangle out of his electric fence collar about once a month. We typically leave Max in the backyard, when heading out for the day. Sometimes I’ll come home and he will be in the front yard, tied to the basketball goal. That’s weird. How did he do that? Friendly neighbors bring him back and for this, we are grateful.
Now, there are better ways to meet your neighbors than during mishaps, losses and accidents- but it definitely open doors.
My son was biking down a steep hill when his dad turned around to say “slow down.” Poor little guy slammed his brakes and wiped out badly. The local fire department happened to be passing by, saw the accident, stopped the truck in the middle of the road and bandaged him up. He came home 20 minutes later looking like a mummy. I was like: “WHAT HAPPENED? You JUST left the house?!!”
We skipped school pictures that week, but days later, the same fire fighters visiting the elementary school to discuss “Stop, Drop and Roll” techniques, remembered the little fella, said hello in front of the class and “in his mind” became a Super Hero. Thanks guys!
As I write this, I’m realizing we owe a lot to our local fire dept. Time for another barbecue.
When our crappy boat was stolen, the local police department stopped by the house to file a report. I’ll never forget the officer He had a tattoo on his arm that said: Big & Sexy. When we discovered the boat wasn’t stolen, rather I had forgotten to tie it to the dock, we met, yet another group of friends that day, who found the boat floating in a nearby weed bed; and drove it back, because the keys were also left in it. Oops. I called Big & Sexy that afternoon to close the police report; he wasn’t amused. We probably won’t be hang out buddies, but it’s nice to know who to call on, if the need arises.
Go out, meet your neighbors. Perhaps not through a bicycle calamity or falling out of a tree, but grab your girlfriends at “bus stop,” have a (GNO) girl’s night out, a party at the house. Sign up to play tennis, join a running group or book club. There are many great people, resources, opportunities and connections around you. Get out there and join something; say hello on your walks, get out of your vehicle at “car pool,” reach out and make the effort. In finding community, you become a family and that’s where memories are made.
Here’s to Living the Best Version of You.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.