I'm feeling a surge of gratitude for my neighbors and the simple joy of being neighborly to one another; it's a priceless gift we pass back and forth. But it does require something that's increasingly uncommon: being around.
Yesterday, my neighbor called and asked if my children could take care of her dog, Archie, for a few days. She's lived in her home nearly 50 years; it's where she raised her children and nursed her husband at the end of his life. She was about to give me care instructions over the phone, but I told her we'd stop by later in the day—this was a prime opportunity for relationship and responsibility building.
My 8-year old is enamored by dogs, so I offered him the job. We've done jobs for this neighbor before, and she's incredible with the kids. She's a child psychologist, and is especially adept at the financial negotiation part of the deal. I helped Hudson prepare a small notebook where he could write down the details of his tasks, one page for each day. He was smiling ear to ear, feeling a bit nervous but thrilled by the prospect of landing a job. I sent him out the front door, and off he ran by himself to his sales call.
Thirty minutes later, my door bell rang. I opened, and there was Hudson holding a huge bouquet of freshly clipped garden flowers. "We picked these for you! Do you see the heart in the middle? There was one flower I really wanted, but I didn't ask for it because she only had one left on the bush. I couldn't carry my notebook with all the flowers, be right back."
What a gift! A neighbor who invites my son to walk with her in the garden and pick flowers for his mother. What a gift! A neighbor who invites my child to help her by taking care of her dog. These simple parts of life just can't be replicated with technology. It's these parts of life that feel vintage, nostalgic, pure, honest, good. In fact, technology helps us recognize them for the treasures they are. We humans need one another, all generations of us. We make one another's lives better, richer, sweeter, more fragrant. Today, I encourage you to take a step towards a neighbor. Heads up: it will require being around. :)