Sunday, October 07, 2007

Eating Crow, kind of.

I have been fairly candid about my disillusionment about the friendliness of neighbors. It has been humbling because I thought that after the 5th grade gang-ups I'd shed myself of the burden of caring about fitting in, but I was wrong. Aching to belong lingers, no matter your age or place in life. Being the kind of person that uses humor to get past these things, I've often made light of our situation with our neighbors.

The truth is that we live in a lovely neighborhood. We have the best elementary school in the district a stone's throw from our house, we walk to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning, we have three grocery stores to choose from, each within 2 miles of our house, and, despite my grumblings, we are blessed to have some wonderful ( and exceptionally colorful) neighbors.

This week my mom and sister are visiting, their mission, to get me off my feet and take care of things around the house.

"Now, don't do a mom-is-coming-to-visit cleaning blitz before I arrive."

"I won't."

"You promise?"




And I didn't, at least not like we usually do. We did put some toys away and pass my beloved Dyson through the dried macaroni and crushed leaves wake that runs from our front door to the kitchen, but the laundry stayed dirty and I didn't run Clorox wipes over every imaginable surface. Unfortunately, I spent the first three days of their visit kind of tearing ass through the house, following the girls as they chased their aunt and just generally enjoying having them around.

Friday I hit a serious wall, cartoon style. I'd been going, going, going, when all of a sudden I thought, "Maybe I should lie down." The next thing I knew my face and the sofa began to resemble a memory foam diagram, the left side of my face completely submerged in the cushion. There was a vague sensation of clouds passing, which I realized was a person slipping past me and laying a blanket over my inert form, voices in the distance:


"You want to go to gather leaves?"

"Uh-huh, let's get together some leafses."

"Ok, we need to find your shoes."

And then it was quiet. I'm not sure how long I slept, but when I woke my contacts were stuck to my eyes and I looked around sheepishly as I slid a pillow over the shocking pond of drool I'd created. I sat for a moment taking stock of the situation.

No dog. She always curls at my feet when I nap.
No sounds. No computer, no music. No girls.
Stillness. No clanging in the kitchen, no whirring of washing machine.
They were gone.

I stood slowly and slipped on a pair of shoes. Then I walked outside, the brightness of the afternoon a shock. Standing outside our house I listened for them, thinking I could at least determine which direction to walk. Nothing. No one in the backyard, no one down our block, so I turned left and headed to the corner. I'd not walked ten steps before our neighbor called to me:

"Amanda. Are you looking for them?"


"They just walked that way, should be right there." She was indicating down the street I was facing. I lifted my hand and called out a thanks. Taking a few more steps, I paused at the corner. Three doors down a head popped up.



"They just walked that way." She said pointing her thumb down the street.


"You should be in bed." She called out with a smile.

"You're probably right," I returned rather feebly, still dazed by the immediacy of the unsolicited help.

"Hey, Amanda!"

"Yes," I shielded my eyes and looked further down the street.

"They just rounded the corner and should be coming your way." A male neighbor shouted.


"Now go put your feet up." He said as he went back to raking.

I shook my head. This neighborhood, these people, people I have yearned to belong to, had, in one unchoreographed, and heart piercing gesture of awareness and consideration, demonstrated that not only did they know we were here, but they cared. They cared that I was getting enough rest, cared that I wanted to know where my girls were. The emotion of receiving such old fashioned, good neighbor kindness made my heart swell. People were looking out for me and for my family. I cannot fathom a more precious thing to have than that.

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mammacheryl said...

That's wonderful. It would be great to live in a neighborhood like that. And isn't it lovely to have loved ones come over and insist you rest and leave all the work to them?

slouching mom said...

Oh Amanda, I'm so glad! And it sounds as if it came at just the right moment, too.

flutter said...

What a beautiful thing to have happen. See? Your beauty is inspiring.

Janet said...

How awesome is that? :)

painted maypole said...

now go put your feet up. ;)

iheartchocolate said...

This is like a scene from tv or something. Got any homes for sale on your block??

Christine said...

they know how lovely you are just like us.

no go rest. . .

BetteJo said...

Such a nice group of people! And if you think about it - it was probably quite unusual for them to see your kids go by - without you! When they saw you come outside and look confused - of course they had to help you in your search. I'm sure it's totally obvious to all your neighbors what a great Mom you are!

Colleen said...

Oh yeah!!! It's so nice to know that when you need them, your neighbors are there for you... especially when you don't ask for it.

InTheFastLane said...

That does sound like a nice neighborhood. I like my neighbors, most of the time. It does sound like you could sue more rest :)

Pgoodness said...

What a fantastic neighborhood and wonderful people you have surrounded yourself with. So precious a gift.

Mrs. Chicken said...

Isn't it funny how these things happen at just the right time?

Now get some rest!

dawn224 said...

Perfect. I hope you read this after a looog nap.

everydave said...

See, I was thinking that they were avoiding you because you kept throwing stones at the local school... or have you really gotten over that habit?

baby advice said...

That sounds wonderful!

Be Inspired Always said...

That's wonderful :)

I'm new to your blog.


Amy York said...

Yay! That's just fantastic! Glad things are looking up...

Angela said...

What wonderful neighbours....can I move in? You are very, very lucky indeed. I hope you can get some more well deserved rest and relaxation.

cry it out! said...

Yeah! I can like your neighbors now! This was beautifully crafted. I love, LOVE the pacing at the end.

Now go put your feet up!


Occidental Girl said...

You're right, that's a great feeling! I'm glad you had it, finally, after the snub.

I wish I did.

Chaotic Joy said...

I love this picture. It seemed to me too, like a scene from a movie. How wonderful that in the midst of the struggles you have had with your neighbors you found some kindness. This makes me so happy.

cate said...

oh, that's so sweet! some of my neighbours are like that...unfortunately we have some nightmare neighbours too!