Friday, March 16, 2012

Frontline Friday

In our marriage, I am an extravert and Lucas is an introvert.  Anyone who is with us for more than a few seconds can figure that out!  So, it's only natural that we'd both assume that when I set out to connect with our neighbors I would be the one who would make connections with our neighbors.

And I did.  I've made connections with all the families on our street, stopping their moms in the street for a chat and inviting kids over for little holiday or after school parties and play dates.

But, Lucas has been at work as well.  When we first moved in, there were 2 elderly people who each lived alone across the street.  And an elderly couple who lives right next door.  Lucas reached out to each of them.

There's Loraine*, the avid gardener.  Lucas complimented her on her yard, went with her to look at every budding flower she wanted to show him, and then accepted her offer to garden together in our yard.  For hours and hours they gardened our yard.  It was just a few weeks after moving here, and to me, it was NOT a top priority!

There's Bob, a lifelong bachelor who lives in his childhood home.  He hangs socks to dry out his windows and door and wears the same grimy tank top every day.  He loves electronics and collects outdated electronics.  He asked Lucas go and pick up an old fashioned big screen TV with him out in Bellevue.  Lucas agreed and got to know Bob along the way.

And then there's our neighbors Joe and Edith.  Edith badly injured herself falling down the stairs.  She's had a lengthy recovery process and I've meant to send a care package over for weeks now, but haven't.  Lucas stopped by with Norah and sat with Joe for about an hour just talking about how things were going with Edith.

When I think of the ideal neighborhood, I think of a place packed with families.  Children running outside, parents connected as good friends.  When I imagined our community, I only imagined people like me- young folks raising families.  And those are the folks I've reached out to most.  But, Lucas instead has sought out people regardless of whether or not they look like some idealized version of what a neighborhood should look like to meet our needs, and I've learned what it really looks like to be on the front lines of our front yard.

*Names of neighbors have been changed.


  1. This post in particular jumped my heart into my throat...
    My grandparents were the recipients of the love and energy from neighborly relationships, and I am eternally grateful for it. (As a result, I was also a recipient of that warmth and love, and it has given me a new "family" that I have worked in to my life!)
    In my adult life, I am trying to bring that approach into neighborhoods of which I am a part. As a result of the last four years, I got to know our San Martin Place next-door neighbor, "Charles." He still sends the occasional email while I'm in Chicago, and I visit him when I am in town. Your girls will grow up having seen the richness of a full community and all the spectrums of ages and walks of life... and certainly they are warming and enriching your neighbors' lives. Rock on, Cherry family.

  2. Hi Stine, so glad you read it! Yes, really community is about reaching out to those who are different than us because we can learn the most from and gain the most from those friendships. I am so glad we are being given that opportunity in our current neighborhood. I'm definitely learning and growing; and my girls are surrounded by so much love!