Thursday, August 16, 2012
My neighborhood had a block party last weekend. It was a lovely event, and especially lovely because I feel like I don't know my neighbors as well as I should. Many of them were here before we were and have older children who grew up together. Plus we all have busy lives -- including me! -- and not that it is any excuse, but I think in modern society we tend to run in different circles beyond our neighbors.
Growing up, my neighborhood was a place where everyone knew everyone. It was a small dead-end street, with not a lot of homes, so it was easy to know everyone. And the kids were all pretty close in age, and we all attended a neighborhood school. We had picnics on summer holidays and played hide-and-go-seek in the connected backyards. We rode our bike on the street, and raked leaves for neighbors.
My parents still live there, as do some of the neighbors. But the street has changed. And the remaining residents are growing old.
Today, I don't let my daughter play alone much outside; I always have an eye on her out the window. I don't really want her riding her bike alone on the street; we live on a corner and I worry about crazy drivers. It is a different world for her. In many ways, not better; time has made me more paranoid.
But I still am a generally friendly person. I like knowing my neighbors, and it was nice to spend a little time, however distracted by my two toddlers growing impatient in their wagon! The block party was originally scheduled for a Saturday, but when bad weather was in the forecast, they switched it to Sunday, which meant my husband could not attend due to a scheduled golf outing. So I went alone, with three kids. I strapped the toddlers in the wagon, packed snacks and hoped for the best. They were not too bad, but it was hard at times to carry on adult conversations with sippy cups flying at my feet. And they took a spill on grassy hill when I let my oldest and a few neighborhood kids pull them around an open grassy area. Luckily neither was hurt!
The organizers of the block party hired a silhouette artist to make portraits of the children. It was so nice! And God bless her for still snipping away while the little ones squirmed in their seats. I give her credit for trying so hard. They came out pretty cute. I plan on framing them together with scrapbook paper behind them. I'll put them on my future family photo wall going up our stairs.
Hopefully our neighborhood block parties will not be too infrequent. I will look forward to the next one!