Neighbours. They really make or break where you live. Whenever someone mentions a bad neighbour, I immediately become a one-upper and tell them about the time I lived across from the same murderer twice. He was an attempted murderer, but when you shoot someone in the head, who is making that distinction? I lived in quiet suburbia so this was very unexpected.
The funny thing is, I rarely think of that murderous neighbour. The ones that often come to mind are the ones who have shown kindness. You know the ones: they’re the heroes who shovelled your driveway or mowed your lawn when you were struggling with young children. They brought you food when you had a baby or lost a loved one. These are the neighbours to be celebrated.
Cheers to neighbours. They know us in ways others don’t. They see your car coming and going from your home. They see you putting out the compost in your onesie pj’s well past noon and give a friendly, non-judgmental wave. They see you in your skivvies when they’re suddenly at your front door when you were expecting your own child to be there. (I’m assuming these things are not specific to me?)
Neighbours become our entrusted co-parents. They feed the kids lunch and host a play date so you can get a few chores accomplished. They offer you a glass of lemonade (or a glass of wine) at the end of their driveway while the kids run amok. They pick up your kids from school when you are stuck in traffic. During storm outages, the good neighbours are the ones with a generator who offer to charge your phones and put your food in the freezer. They bring out the BBQ to cook together in the streets.
Good neighbours are easily spotted when you first move into the neighbourhood. They are the ones who make a point of introducing themselves. They share the names of their local landscaper, plumber, and snow removal service. They invite you over for a casual meal and offer you friendship. They give you the inside scoop on the neighbourhood gossip!
Who among us doesn’t have a good friend who was once our childhood neighbour? I haven’t lived in the same city as my childhood neighbour in more than 20 years, yet our friendship continues. My daughter moved away from her neighbour-turned-best-friend nearly three years ago, but their friendship continues.
Neighbours lend you a cup of sugar when you’re making muffins; they lend a listening ear when you’re having a rough day. They listen to you complain about your spouse on Tuesday and thank God for him on Wednesday. They know you lose your patience with your kids because they’ve witnessed it in your driveway, but they see the laughter, too. They keep you in their thoughts and keep an eye on your home when you’re on vacation.
So, Cheers to Neighbours, and to the friendship and kindness they offer us.