Saturday, October 2, 2010

We Won the Neighbor Lottery

I'm convinced we scored big when we moved to our little cul-de-sac almost six years ago.  I've always known we've had wonderful neighbors, but after an insanely generous gift of a wooden outdoor swing/playset this weekend from our neighbors whose two daughters have grown into teenagers, I've taken the time to really think about all the blessings we've received from eight special families on our block.

Here is a partial list:

1. An antique rocking chair when we were awaiting the birth of our first child
2. A teak outdoor dining table and chairs
3. An offer to watch our daughter if I went into labor with my second child in the middle of the night
4. Countless offers for help when my husband is out of town
5. Expertise and help when building new stairs on our deck
6. The use of some pretty swanky power tools
7. Offers for free babysitting
8. 2 fishing poles, a loaded tacklebox, and a pink tent for my daughters
9. Some very thoughtful (even homemade) baby gifts
10. Baked goods (yum!)
11. An occasional snowblowing of our driveway when my hubby's been out of town
11. A hand-carved wooden pen
12. Some lovely meals out and some delicious meals in
13. A movie night out
14. A condolence card when we lost a pet
15. Great conversations in the driveway

We do try to reciprocate.  We've hosted a dinner party for all the neighbors.  We've invited them over for tea and for beers around the fire pit.  We've lent out our tools and even our car.  We've bought new baby and graduation gifts.  We've baked goods.  We've invited them out to dinner and a Twins game.  I've taken their dogs out (and took one to the groomers!).  We've given them houseplants.  We've picked up mail.  We given thoughtful thank you gifts.  We've visited them in the hospital when they've had a sick child.  We bought Girl Scout Cookies and wrapping paper. We've given donations for schools.  We've given them extra veggies from our garden.

In the last couple of years we've paid the neighbor kids to help mow the lawn, weed the garden, babysit, gather mail and feed fish when we're on vacation, and and let our dogs out. 

I didn't grow up in this kind of neighborhood.  I grew up in a micro neighborhood in the country where houses were rather spread out, and people kind of kept to themselves.  But I'm sure glad my daughters will be growing up surrounded by all of this kindness and generosity.  I encourage you to get out and say "hi" to your neighbors today.  Get to know them before there's two feet of snow on the ground and everyone hides away inside for four months (even on our block!).  Be good to them; you never know how they might be there for you in the future.
What about you?  Have your neighbors done something special for you, or did we really just get lucky and win the neighbor lottery?

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