Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bigger Picture Moments: I Want My Freakin' Village {Part II}

It wasn't the right house or the really even the right neighborhood.

Miles from a central downtown and situated just off a crowded, two-lane thoroughfare, I almost drowned in the silence of our new neighborhood as a mom then with only one toddler.

I longed for the kind of streets in which I grew up and into my own skin while outside playing kickball or freeze tag with a dozen other kids until the streets lights would flicker on and moms everywhere began shouting names from the screen door; though those days of neighborhood play came with hard lessons and hard knocks, I knew my neighbor's names, and I knew them as ones I could call on to borrow eggs or to come and check in on my sister and me when my mother's job ran long into the night.

After a few years of living here, in this quiet neighborhood that seemed neighborless, and driving miles and miles several times weekly to friends' houses for playdates that were saturated with the promise of adult conversation, a hot cup of coffee or tea and worn out children by afternoon nap time, I began uttering begging prayers

to move

or for our friends to move closer something anything for there to be a neighborhood village because honestly?

I loved this virtual community and my friends from all over our large and sprawling county but those people are hard to call in emergency, time-sensitive binds

or over to last-minute play when we need to see faces other than the ones that live in between these four walls

and, you know, you can't borrow eggs from a blog.

Somewhere in the midst of this crying out for community and trying {and failing} to find a new house in new neighborhood teeming with little kids, little buds of green began popping through the soil, I began shifting my energy from moving to making this a place I wanted to live -- a place with blossoming relationships and entertwined vines of friendship.

I met {through Twitter, nonetheless} a friend who not only lived two minutes away by car but also my brain twin through hours spent in conversation and communion of the hearts and minds.

Then a few more buds popped through just as I was about to force John to beat a for-sale sign into the ground -- another mom I'd really only known online turned out to live down the street.

A few more new faces slowly emerged, moving into the empty house on our street and we found each other through handshakes in the midst of knee-deep snow mounds and moments of serendipity while connecting virtually via an online group as we typed on our computers only three literal blocks away from each other.

We've cultivated slowly each relationship with conversation and time, offerings of help and hand and heart, and I saw that in effort more buds of friendship began to blossom in the neighborhood that seemed to be void of neighbors.


It's almost 8 o'clock at night, and I find myself all out of our eggs mid-recipe.

I briefly consider running to the store, but before I even give it a second thought, my thumbs are busy messaging three faces I not only recognize and call neighbor but also call friends.

And only a few moments later, I'm out my own door and standing at hers, chatting on her front porch while her littles sleep inside as the sun begins to fade into the horizon.


Just before the street lights click on, I bid her farewell and begin to walk the path back to my own house

through a neighborhood that just didn't seem right not just because of its location or proximity but because it was lacking the basic part of the word -- neighbors.

Two eggs in hand and thankfulness heavy on my tongue, my heart, I find a village, my village, in that word's restoration.

And, I find my village, too, in the realization that in order to have a neighbor, you also have to be one.

Simple BPM
This week, we're sharing our moments at Brook's!


  1. Wonderful! There is no replacing a friend you can rely on.

  2. Oh, I love this. And that last line: "in order to have a neighbor, you also have to be one". Oh, so convicting - because, sometimes friendships are hard but it's worth the effort to make those close, "bosom" friends (as Anne Shirley would say), both near AND far. There's something so sweet in both kinds of friendships. :)

  3. How nice! What a sweet picture you paint. I'm glad you have found these people.

    After almost three years of living here, I have found a friend across the street. It is so good to have a neighbor and be a neighbor.

  4. That's so great you found people that you can be friends with in your area. It's nice to have a great village.

    We live in a condo community so there aren't a lot of young couples that we interact with. We have made a couple of friends with the older ladies and gentlemen out here. We keep an eye on them, and vice-versa, but no play dates for Mr. G there.

  5. Yes! I can relate so well. I've lived out in the country for almost 5 years. I love everything about it, but if there's one thing I miss, it's quick access to friends. Glad you're making some connections. And you're so right - there are some voids that can't be filled through the virtual world.

  6. I love that line, you can't borrow eggs from a blog! I spend so much time getting upset that my friends are so far away... sometimes I totally forget to open myself up to those right here.

  7. Lovely! I decided about two years ago to stop calling this place we're living now "temporary." We're here for the long haul and after 8 years of pretending we weren't, I'm really enjoying it as I wiggle into this community.

  8. Hy! I am so happy for you. I grew up in the same way as you know, and a village is so important... I want a village, too. My neighborhood, while VERY lovely, is too quiet as well.


  9. What a beautiful post, Hy. I loved this line: "you know, you can't borrow eggs from a blog." And the lesson at the end is a stunner: "in order to have a neighbor, you also have to be one." It's so easy to isolate ourselves these days, but so rewarding to reach out. I'm so glad you both found & created your village.

  10. I love this Hy ... So glad you found your village,And I hope that when I finally move I can find my village...of course I've already found my Chicago village, but that goes without saying. HUGS!!


There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.