When we moved into our home almost eight years ago, we had no idea what our neighborhood would really be like. We just knew that it was close enough to Taylor’s work to ride a bike, it was in our price range, and the schools were good. It seemed like a nice enough area. The bigger part, though, was that we felt right about it. London was only 4; hardly old enough for it to really matter what the kids in the neighborhood were like. There were few. Mostly, it was a bunch of old people. Through the years, people have moved in and out. We have made friends and seen them move away and so far, we have been fortunate to have great neighbors.
I’ve heard friends talk about how they want to be the house where the friends gather; the house that is bustling with activity. I think that’s a great thing, but for me, having friends over all the time just seems tiring. As it turns out, though, we are that house. Sort of. We share that responsibility with the other neighbors, but the kids seem to spend a significant amount of time here. I guess that’s what happens when you make cookies with them and set up quilts in the garage. Last week when they were all over here making a mess, I mean cookies, I was kind of annoyed. I tried not to show it, but I felt like my house was a mess, my kitchen was too small, and there were so many other things that I could have been doing than making cookies with a bunch of tween girls. In actuality, there’s probably not any better way of spending my time than making cookies with a bunch of tweens.
This weekend London brought home a project that needs to be finished for school this week. Instead of doing it herself, she enlisted the neighborhood kids. I can’t really explain how glad I am that she has these neighborhood friends. They are a group of mismatched kids (mostly girls) who spend all of their free time together. When we pull up after being somewhere else, much of the time we can’t even make it to the driveway before the kids jump out of the car to play. The rest of the time, the neighbors are over asking when they can come out and play. With the difficulty of last school year, she had a safe place with the girls in the neighborhood. This year she is at a new school. Some of the neighbors are at new schools also, but they have the stability of each other.
I had no idea when we moved here what the neighborhood kids would be like as my kids grew. I could not have planned the friendships that have grown with the kids here. It just worked out. And it worked out just right. I hope that these kids can continue to lean on each other for many years. They are so fortunate to have each other.