When we moved here, almost 3 years ago now, it was culture shock in many ways. We went from having the Atlantic Ocean in our backyard to being surrounded by hills… and a river (which is nothing like the ocean, no matter how my husband tries to convince me otherwise!). We also went from living in a very rural setting in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by 500 acres of cornfields, to living in a neighborhood “in town,” surrounded by other houses, people, and pets galore.
I don’t think Nick or I expected to like living in a neighborhood, with other people so close. I know it’s always been Nick’s dream to live out on a farm in the middle of nowhere, isolated from the rest of the world, peeing off the back porch. When we first moved here, we both saw it as temporary… a place to land so that we could regroup… and, someday, we’d return to a rural setting, in a holler somewhere (I’ve lived in WV for a collective total of 6 years, and I still have no idea what a holler is, by the way!). But, surprisingly, we’ve learned to appreciate and actually enjoy neighborhood living.
One huge difference about living near other people is that our kids have other kids to play with. At first, the neighborhood kids drove me a little crazy. But that was the culture shock issue, I think. I wasn’t used to having kids ringing the doorbell every five minutes… or to hearing, “Mom, can I go to so-and-so’s house? Mom, can I go riding bikes with so-and-so? Mom, can I go sledding in a stranger’s yard, down the street, with so-and-so?” And providing snacks and drinks for neighborhood kids who happened to wander by at any given time on any given day? That was all very new for this mom!
But, after 3 years, I’ve grown used to it… and I actually love the fact that kids are always running through the yard, that my kids only have to walk outside the front door to find other kids to play with.
It’s funny how our neighborhood has changed so much in just 3 years. When we moved here, there was a little girl across the street, Andi, who was exactly Avery’s age… and they became fast pals! In the house next door were Dante and Paige. Dante was Avery’s age and they went to pre-school together; Paige was in middle school and was wonderful with the younger kids… they all played together outside on a daily basis. And, one street over were brothers Matt and Jason, who were Damon’s age and spent a lot of time here… I think one or both of them slept over almost every weekend!
Today, none of those kids live in our neighborhood. They’ve all moved away… and the kids are always sad to see more friends leave.
But, today I realized that all of a sudden, the neighborhood is full of kids again… just a different group of kids. In the last few months, two families full of little girls around Avery’s age have moved in on our street. I hardly ever see my daughter anymore. She’s in high demand with the new neighborhood girls, and she’s always up the street… acting as Head Diva in Charge, I’m sure. And, there’s a new little boy Damon’s age, too.
Today, I’m so glad that our move here wasn’t temporary… that we’ve decided to settle here. I really do love our neighborhood. I love that the kids don’t have to look far to find other kids to play with. And I really don’t mind having neighbors close by; I find it rather comforting and think I would feel terribly isolated and alone if we were out in the country. And, well, I think Nick has made peace with the fact that he can’t pee off the porch. Really… that’s not such a bad thing!