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Today is a gorgeous day. The sun is shining after a few dark dreary days of rain and it has warmed up a bit. I have some of the best neighbors —
A few weeks ago on a day that I was not feeling myself, I came home to these on my doorstep.
The littlest neighbor Kate dropped these off on my doorstep. The most beautiful yellow flowers in the tiniest of vases. She made me smile.
My other neighbor has been kind enough to bring spring indoors through the last couple months.
Then this afternoon, another young neighbor showed up to deliver some beautiful peonies that his mom picked and sent my way.
I am truly one lucky lady to have such good friends and neighbors.
There is something unsettling about being the new kid on the block. I have some deep seated fear of being wrong, or different or standing out – in a bad way. When I was a kid I would worry that maybe school really didn’t start today or maybe the clocks really didn’t go back or forward over the weekend and I would be late or I was wearing the wrong uniform ( in our Catholic elementary and high school, there were different uniforms for different times of the year ). I am sure that I could provide hours of analysis for some very bored psychologist or psychiatrist – and we haven’t even brought up the fear of dying by suffocation, yet.
Anyway, I must preface this with the fact that I have met some very welcoming people and made some very wonderful friends since we moved, but I still can feel like an outsider. How long does it take for one to feel that they “fit” in? I was invited to a home party event this evening and there were familiar faces and everyone, even the unfamiliar were extremely friendly, but when people start talking about “so and so” or “this family” or “that person”, I can feel very, very out of the loop. I don’t know who they are talking about, I cannot share in their amusement or astonishment or concern or anger. I have no idea and certainly no right to judge or even comment on that which I don’t know. So, I sit. Quietly. I take it all in, smile when appropriate, nod when necessary and wonder to myself – when will I be one of “them”? One who will know exactly who Jane Doe is when they mention her name and how wonderful she is at this or how sad it is that she is no longer doing that? With each new journey in life, there are challenges and for me, this is one of them. I guess that deep down, I need to feel like I belong – again, a psychotherapist’s dream, I am sure – and while I am working on it and I have some truly wonderful people to help me along the way, I am not there yet. It is hard to walk away from the comfort of knowing mostly everyone and everything – something that I just felt like I had accomplished after 15 years of living in the same town in NJ – familiar faces in church, in the grocery store, at the school. I guess that here I am so much more fortunate, as these people welcome you with open arms, open doors and open hearts. Different from NJ, better. I just have to get over my own insecurities and realize that making friends and acquaintances is a lifelong project, not something to be mastered quickly.
Neighbor: (noun) One living near or adjacent to another.
In New Jersey, we had neighbors by definition alone. Everyone lived in their little houses all within feet of each other. You could not help but know what your neighbor was doing because you were there, literally right next to them. I can honestly say that the only “neighbors” we actually had in the 15 years we lived in that neighborhood were the man who lived next door, some friends of ours that rented next door to us in our home and my in-laws when they moved next door. Otherwise, there were no neighborhood parties, no cups of coffee, no borrowing a cup of sugar, really nothing.
Here where we live in Vermont, our neighbors don’t necessarily fit the definition in the dictionary but are what I’d like to call Vermont neighbors. Who is a Vermont neighbor?
- the person who waves at you when you pass (or they pass you)
- the person who always has time to chat and doesn’t think it strange or forward to just “stop by”
- the person who will watch your kids when you just need to run an errand or two because she knows that you’ll do the same for her
- the person who will make you chicken soup or just check in on you when the whole family is sick with some ungodly bug or other.
- the person who will loan you or borrow from you….a whatever, because why should someone buy it when someone else has it.
- the person who’ll invite you over for lunch or coffee or tea or drinks…just because
- the person who will babysit your animals for you when you go away — again because you’d do the same.
- the person who will help you cut, mow, move, build, take down, construct, re-construct, demolish or whatever needs to be done ’cause that’s what neighbors do.
- the people who live next door, down the road and around the ‘block’. Neighbors don’t have physical boundaries.
- our “Vermont neighbors” we’re lucky to have them all. Thanks!
We are fortunate to have good friends and neighbors. The days leading up to and Christmas were made especially nice by the constant interaction between us all here on the hill. Baked goods were exchanged back and forth with some yummy results, doorbells rang with wishes of good cheer and Merry Christmas. It is very nice to experience Christmas with a group of people who you care about and knowing that the feeling is reciprocal. While the flow of children is ever – present in our house, something about Christmas makes it all the more special. We are very lucky to have such good friends and neighbors which makes living here in Vermont all that much more special.
I think that one of the reasons that Christmas time holds a special place in my heart is that it was my dad’s favorite holiday. He was like the biggest of all the kids and Christmas was definitely when he had the most fun. Some of my fondest memories are Christmases growing up. I always think of him this time of the year. He would love it here and be very proud of us and our wonderful friends and neighbors.
Tom made me sad today, he was relaying a conversation he had with his father, reminding him that in 7 years all my boys would be grown and gone off to college. It seems like such a short time and makes me feel so…..OLD and SAD. Bummer.