I pulled into the driveway just as Bray and two of the three kids were walking out the back door. I’d made great time coming home from a business trip and it was still daylight outside.
We’re going on a walk, wanna come?
I couldn’t resist. The temperatures had warmed and I hadn’t seen my family in two days. I quickly changed, gathered the third stray, and off we went. We had only made it a block or two when we encountered a family of four. Mom was walking behind a boy about the kids size and dad was pushing baby in a carriage.
Would you like to be my new friends, the precious boy on the scooter inquired. We all agreed it would be a lovely idea, and soon found out he was only a year younger than the kids and they lived on the street behind us. Waving goodbye, we each carried on our respective ways. The kids wandered and climbed bricks and ran ahead as we split up to manage the varying paces.
We turned toward home and spotted the family a few doors down from us in the driveway. The kids went barreling up as both boys are young and my kids adore little children. I stood chatting with the mom, Bray chatted with the dad, and the kids tried entertaining the one and three year old in their little push cars. We finally tore them away and started across the neighbor’s lawn toward our own. Waving, our across the street neighbor crossed over with his dog to chat. We inquired about his Clemson flag, as the eldest and the baby excitedly described their split loyalties in the Clemson v. Alabama game.
Bray continued the conversation as our neighbor friends on the other side of us pulled up. The daughter, a year older than little bit, asked the kids to come over and jump in their bouncy house. The father nodded his agreement as the kids tore off to run up their driveway for time with their favorite brother-sister next door friends.
I yelled over at my shoulder, The kids are playing next door, as I ran inside to roast the vegetables.
Fifteen months ago, we did not know one family on our street. Today, I felt like I’d stepped back in time to an era when neighbors sat on their front lawns and swapped stories and kids.
We painted a picnic table and started getting to know folks on our street. Now it feels like home in a way I never even realized we were missing.
We’re all so busy. And drivers race through our neighborhood streets far too fast. And the weather and the safety and the discomfort, etc., etc.
But if you will push yourself outside your property lines, it will pay dividends beyond what you could have imagined.
In the words of the consummate neighbor, Mr. Rogers:
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let’s make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we’re together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?