When our family moved into our house about 18-months ago, it was right before Christmas and I worried greatly about fitting in and being odd and different. The very next day, I put moving on hold and had a huge baking day with my sister. Then I filled up large tins of various goodies and took them to the immediate neighbors on our street, knocked on their doors, shoved the box in their hands and said, “HI! I’m Loralee! We just moved in. I’m not a Mormon and I’m a Democrat. Like me anyway!”
I’m only being slightly flippant, here.
(I’m never sure what kind of first impression I make on people, only THAT I MAKE ONE.)
I shouldn’t have worried about fitting in at all.
I love where I live.
It is a tiny little oval subdivision far off the road and surrounded by some of the prettiest pasture ever.
ALL the neighbors are simply wonderful. I didn’t need worry when I first move in. While it isn’t culturally diverse, there is at least a diversity of political and religious thought amongst my neighbors.
Not one house contains ‘the jerk that you avoid at all costs”.
Even if you don’t know one of the 30 or so families in the neighborhood well, you know them well enough to like them just fine. It is a community and during the summer everyone is out and about talking in the street while a huge herd of children go from house to house to house playing.
It has been wonderful for all my kids, especially my little 4-year-old pat of butter.
That adorable and utterly mellow baby you all wanted to get here so much?
That *I* wanted to get here so much?
He was seriously the most chill and perfect baby and toddler ever.
As he has aged, he has gotten, um…a bit more energetic.
Which has been cool as I just adore him and his imagination to bits.
But, I can’t say it isn’t without its worry and downside.
About 6-months ago, Butterlump discovered “Friends”.
Butterlump loves his friends.
He thinks EVERYONE is his friends and he wants nothing more than to be out playing with all of them from the crack of dawn until midnight if we would allow it.
One day, he looked out the window and saw a group of pre-teens in bright neon shirts all out jumping on the neighbor’s trampoline.
“LOOK, MAMA!!! MY FRIENDS ARE THERE!”
I grinned and gently explained that those were the ‘big friends’ and that he needed to wait until he saw his ‘little friends’ to be able to go out to play.
He looked crestfallen.
Then he perked up in hope as one of the older kids hopped off the trampoline and headed in the direction of our house.
“But…but…I see a nice orange friend right over there!”
I love this kid so much.
Everyone loves him.
He has friends from 18-months to about 9.
He is VERY well known in the neighborhood.
Well…it might be that since the kid figured out how to open our door (no matter how we lock them) he has turned into Houdini and goes EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE.
Including walking into my next-door-neighbor’s house and taking frozen treats from their fridge when no one is home.
Even if he starts out playing with one or two friends, he will have likely worked his way around 5 or 6 houses by the time I am out roaming around looking for him.
If I lived anywhere else I would be one constant state of perpetual nervous breakdown.
This evening, I came home from 12-hours of getting my parent’s house ready to sell to find no Butterlump. Christopher went house to house and he wasn’t there.
We finally found him on someone else’s Big Wheel and I took him home and dumped him in the bathtub.
Yes, I was worried but…not overly.
Which would normally be a bad thing.
However, it just isn’t the case here. Grown ups are outside in the summer all the time and all the adults look out for every single kid. There is one entry and exit and I live at the bottom of the street so there is basically no cars. Kids just roam and play and all the adults keep an eye out.
Which is a freaking good thing because Butterlump is the kid that has just walked into houses and said, “HI! I’M HERE TO PLAY!”
(He is turning out to be a whole lot like his mama. Oy.)
The good thing about this is that I have neighbors who are my friends on Facebook.
Which comes in darn handy when you are the mama of Butterlump.