As our neighborhood is going through the transition of being a small, phase one, half full place, to the full of construction, phase two being developed, place it is now; there has been lots of chatter. It has made me stop and reflect about how I feel and I thought I would weigh in on how this neighborhood has affected me.
So I use to be a HUGE type A personality. I had it all together. I don't really know when it happened or how it happened, but somewhere along the way, I've lost it. Some days you're lucky if you catch a single glimpse of togetherness around me.
I grew up as an only child. I lived on a street growing up. I wouldn't really consider it a neighborhood. I did have a couple of kids my age that lived on the same street. But they were boys, and let's face it people, life is hard for the little chick that can't even learn to ride a bike.
When Marshal and I got married we moved into a couple of apartments and then bought our first house. I got a little taste of what having neighbors was like then. We were all newlyweds, love struck, poor, and sooooo very young. When we moved back to Arkansas, we bought another house. We tried to have neighbor friends, and we did have a few. However, I can't say I ever knew the joy of truly having neighbors until now. I have learned so much:
1) I have learned that people can actually see your house dirty and the world doesn't fall apart. I know some of you may laugh at that, but there were many years I wouldn't allow people to even walk in my home if it wasn't spotless. Y'all my neighbors have seen my home look like a boys frat house, after an all night party, and lightning didn't strike me dead. Plus they are still nice to me at the community pool. I mean they may all be gossiping about my dirty house, but hey what do I care. Ha!
2) Speaking of community pool. Hello! How darn lucky is anyone to live where there is a community pool. I have learned wherever there is water and other children, my children are happy. This means hours upon hours where I can lay and read or visit with my friends.
3) Ok this next one might not be a positive. Kidding, I truly love it! I have learned you can never cook too much dinner, or have too many snacks. Honestly, you aren't really sure how many mouths you might be feeding that night. Each child has the possibility of having one or two friends over at any given time so..... I have to say this works the other way too. I think one whole week went by when Jaxton ate dinner with a different friend every night. Plus I know for a fact Ashlynn has tried veggies for her friends momma's she would never try for me.
4) I've learned the doorbell actually can ring so many times that your pets are no longer phased by it. One time the doorbell rang, I opened the door and walked away without even looking. It was a poor sweet little college girl trying to sell books. She was like "ummmm excuse me, sorry to bother you," I came back to the door and was super embarrassed. I just assumed it was a friend and they were just going to walk on in.
5) This whole friends coming and going thing has also taught me that clothes are a must. Not that I was ever just running around my house naked you silly people, but there is definitely more of an effort to close doors when changing and if I sleep in later then my kids on a weekend (or summer days), don't assume you can walk into the kitchen in your tank top and panties.
6) My favorite....I have learned that neighbor friends are the BEST friends! My children are both so blessed with an awesome group of neighborhood friends. However, their friends don't even come close to the jackpot I've hit with my neighbor friends. Beside the fact that these individuals are just plain amazing people, neighborhood friends are the best because you are never ever bored. There is always someone around to do something with. Any night can become a party. Literally any night! Plus if you decided to have three surgeries in one summer, you don't have to worry about how you are going to get food, take a shower, or get help doing the chores around the house. Your best friends are two minutes away and will be there before you can hang up the phone.
I can't go so far to say that now I am flexible. I don't think anyone would tell you my biggest strength is "going with the flow". I still long to have things organized. I still love to have a plan...for everything. However, I can say with certainty my neighbors have changed me in a way I can and will be forever grateful for.
You see, opening myself up, opening my home up, has made it impossible for me to be "perfect". I hear some people say they get this feeling of "not carrying" once they turn 30, or 40, or whatever milestone it is. I can't say that happened to me. I can say I spent many years of my life trying to strive for that perfectness. I wanted to be the best mother, have the cleanest house, the perfect social status, blah blah... whatever the heck all that meant. It was exhausting and quite frankly got me no where.
However, the pile of unfolded laundry, the crumbs on the floor, the dishes in the sink, have filled my house with laughs and smiles. My heart is full and so is my iCloud photo storage, but by golly one day I am going to have a heck of a good time looking back on these days!