Growing up, my neighborhood was full of children. We would ride our bikes to and from each other's houses, have sleepovers, eat meals together, and play from sun up to sun down. I remember running across the street to borrow an egg or a cup of milk from my neighbors for my mom numerous times. I remember Saturday morning pancakes one neighbor mom would make every weekend. I remember the annual 4th of July swimming party and fireworks. I remember chasing down the ice cream man with my friends. I even remember what it was like to not have a cell phone! Back then, everything seemed simpler and slower. Of course, we had the original Nintendo and TV shows to entertain us, but most of our time was spent outside playing, swimming, riding bikes, and hanging out together.
When we moved into our new neighborhood, I immediately noticed how many children were out playing. It was one of the many things that "sold" me on our house. Bikes and scooters were in the driveways, children were walking on the sidewalks, and neighbors were talking to one another. After moving in, we quickly met our neighbors and their children. Our neighbors have quickly become life preservers in so many ways. Just a few lifelines include:
- Bringing dinner to a family with a new baby
- Inviting the neighborhood kids over to swim
- Helping with yard work
- Building fences
- Watching your kids so you can run an errand alone (AMEN!)
- Pet sitting on vacation
- Leaving cookies on your door step
- Sharing a glass of wine after a long day
I love that my children are growing up with their "neighborhood gang" of friends like I did. I love that I trust my neighbors to watch my kids while I run to the store. I love that I can text one of my neighbors for advice or just to talk. I love that my kiddos can walk outside our front door and have picnics, catch lightening bugs, ride scooters, swim, play, and imagine with over fifteen friends. I love that our neighborhood is an extension of our family.
A life preserver, according to Webster's, is defined as "a buoyant jacket, belt, or other like device for keeping a person afloat." In my life, my neighbors are life preservers that keep me sane, happy, and connected.