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Day 25-I am thankful for our neighborhood

November 26, 2013
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At the neighborhood Fourth of July celebration, complete with a fire truck from our fire station spraying water on the kids.

Almost five years ago, we decided to sell the house that Curtis built and move to a neighborhood.  We loved our old house–knowing that I helped frame the walls and lay the flooring and set the trim made me feel incredibly connected to it.  It was our dream house–sixteen foot cathedral ceilings, a floor plan we loved, a spacious open kitchen, a big backyard, a nice covered deck.  However, the street it sat on wasn’t our dream street–there were no sidewalks, no place for our growing children to ride their bikes or neighbors for them to play with.  The school we were zoned to go to didn’t garner any enthusiasm from us whatsoever (in fact, I would say we felt the opposite of enthusiasm about our school).

Five years ago, we looked for new houses, a bit frantically because we got three offers the weekend it went on the market (unheard of in fall 2008).  We started looking in what we thought were our dream neighborhoods, but we soon discovered we couldn’t comfortably afford our dream.  We looked and looked and looked and looked, moving farther and farther out of Central Austin.  This house we found was in our third or fourth neighborhood we looked in.  This neighborhood at sidewalks, a school we could ride bikes to, two parks within walking distance, a grocery store (and much more!) close by, a neighborhood swimming pool, and trees.

December 15 will be five years since we closed on our house.  Since then, I’ve been incredibly thankful for our neighborhood countless times.  Isaac was born less than three months after we moved in (we remodeled before moving in).  He was a bit late and my mom was only able to stay a day or two after he got home from the hospital.  I was faced with no help at home (Curtis worked three quarter days the first two weeks) and three children at home with me several days a week.  I discovered then the wonderful thing that is our neighborhood.  Our immediate next door neighbor let me cry to her the day my mom left, when I felt so overwhelmed (not to mention those wonderful postpartum hormones).  For two weeks, every other day, neighbors brought over hot meals for dinner.  Thanks to our neighborhood, where we had only lived for three months, we were fed.

Since then, the number of times I’ve been thankful for our neighborhood has been countless.  I’m thankful for the neighborhood swim team that has let me kids (and myself) make new friends, not to mention that has taught them to swim.  I’m thankful for the neighborhood events–the fourth of July parade and pool party, the Easter egg hunt, the December hayride and snacks.  I am thankful for our newly formed book club, with mostly people in our neighborhood.  I am thankful that teachers from my kids’ school live in our neighborhood and that one of their daughter babysits for us.  I am thankful for the street I live on, where there are ample children for my children to play with and race up and down the street on their bikes.  I am thankful for neighbors whose house I can go, when on a Monday morning I discover there is no.coffee.in.the.house.

I am not fast at making friends, but in this neighborhood, I keep at it.  It is good knowing that these neighbors my children will go to school with until they graduate from high school–they’ll swim with them on swim team countless summers.  It’s a community.  It’s a place to put down roots and to spread our branches.  I am thankful to be able to do that in our neighborhood.  We may not be the cool or trendy place to live in town, but it’s our place and it fits us.

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