Sunday, January 22, 2012

Look over the fence, you'll be amazed at what you'll find.

When Eric and I lived in Southern California, we had a small circle of friends with whom we'd spend time with every so often.  These people were folks we went to high school with and as the years went by we started taking each other for granted. In other words, we lived fairly close but always assumed that there would be another weekend, another chance to get together.  Not so.  Years slip by with that mentality.  Babies are born, parents get old and need assistance, lives become chaotic.  Places and people get put off until suddenly the nice, retired lady next door we've always meant to introduce ourselves to suddenly passes away.  We never had that chance to share a few moments getting to know one another over a cup of tea.  There's always tomorrow, right?  Wrong.

The day that Eric and I drove over the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains, across the front range of Denver, and into the suburbs of our new lives - we were alone.  There was no one within an hour and a half of us to whom we could remotely count on for assistance.  We could no longer afford the arrogance of saying, "We'll meet our neighbors tomorrow", because what happens if we needed help today?

Making a move to a new state and forcing us to look up and over our fence line was the best thing that ever happened to our family.  We discovered a community of friends everywhere we looked.  In fact, we could never move back to California.  We would miss the people here far too much.  Yes, we miss those we've left behind but sadly, because of the lackadaisical attitudes on both ends, we saw very little of our loved ones.

Here, in this little suburban haven, we have developed unique niches, different groups with whom we've fallen in love with; children and their parents from church, surrogate grandparents who attend our boy's birthday parties, parents with special needs' children who act as an amazing support team, neighbors who've become more like family than merely people across the fence, and women who are closer to me than sisters - whose bonds seem to have been forged long before I've ever met them.

Last night, Eric and I spent time with some of these friends and now that I think about it...we've shared laughter with different friends the weekend before, and the weekend before that.  Our lives are full with the joy of loved ones constantly around us.  We no longer say we're too tired or we don't have enough time.  We don't stress over a dirty house.  Come on in.   I believe we left that attitude back on the west coast.  When someone asks me if I want to meet for a cup of coffee, I always say yes.  And if we can't meet at Starbucks, we'll meet at someone's kitchen table.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my dearest friends and I needed to catch-up over lunch.  We didn't have a penny between us so instead we shared a PB&J with bananas and potato chips.  I would have declined this offer when I lived in Laguna Hills.  I would have waited until we had some money for a restaurant lunch.  What a mistake that would have been.  First of all, that was the best PB&J I've ever had in my life and secondly, I would have missed an amazing time with an incredible human being who just happens to have become one of my very best of friends.


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