Monday, March 3, 2014

Neighborhood bonds

Winter tends to tie neighbors down in the house, so the only time we see people is when we are cleaning off the driveway or getting our mail.We thought we were facing another mega-snow storm starting last night into today and we'd had it! So we decided to have a few neighbors over for a pre-storm Oscar party at the spur of the moment. It was a fairly small group, about 6 couples but a lot of fun to reconnect. We realized that everyone who came was from the original group of owners.

We are fortunate to live in a relatively small neighborhood and about half the original owners are still here. The development was built just over 20 years ago. It's amazing to me to realize that we've known these people, living among them for that length of time. We've seen the kids grow up, grand kids arrive, marriages dissolve and new relationships grow.

When we moved in, we were among the group of families that were just starting to have kids. There were other couples who were empty nesters or had older children when they moved in. It's strange now to realize that we are now in that group and the newer people moving in are the ones with the school age children!

The bond of raising kids together drew a group of us closely together, and those kids and families are now an extended family, as we get together for holiday gatherings and graduations. But the looser bond of being longtime neighbors still exists between the original owners, quietly observing how lives have changed, children growing up, parents passing, challenges overcome.

I moved around a lot when I was young, and never experienced the comfort of being part of a neighborhood. Now as our kids are out of the house, we are facing the dilemma of whether to downsize: a condo in West Chester with underground parking sounds pretty good after this winter! But I like having the community, the space and the house full of memories for the kids to come back to and I think they really value it. I never thought I'd live in one place for so long...but I do love it.

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