We Met at the Park
"You can go over there, in the long grass. That's where my sons always go."
I know, that seems like an odd line to bond over, but in that moment I knew I had a new friend.
I often write about going to the park, or for walks, and I come at it from all angles. Here is one of my favourite ones - the one that brings you new friends. You see, when we take our kids outside to play, when we venture away from our yards, onto the streets, pathways, and parks in our neighbourhoods, a fantastic thing happens - we meet our neighbours. This is how I met my neighbour - my friend. Yes, we bonded over peeing at the park. Any parent who has gone through potty-training has got to be able to relate to this. We met and we talked. We talked about kids at first - you know, the ones peeing in the long grass - the ones we have in common. Kids are an incredible ice-breaker and give us incredible common-ground. They gave us an incredible moment to bond and share humour over. We talked about the funny things and we talked about the hard things - because Lord knows parenting comes with a ton of hard things.
That was nearly five years ago now, and every day I am reminded of that moment and the importance of it. This neighbour has become a close friend, her sons have become my sons' close friends, classmates, and potential future-bandmates, according to Stetson. We have shared ups and downs, coffee, frustrations, and a whole lot of laughter. She is also the person who selflessly helps me out with the insanity that is post-kindergarten childcare. Three days a week my son is picked up, fed, and cared for in the loving home of my neighbour.
I don't know what brought us to the park that day, probably the insanity of two tiny humans and my yearning for peace in nature. Whatever it was, I am grateful. Knowing our neighbours is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. Having a village of supportive, kind, caring humans literally right beside us is invaluable. I often hear that community is dead, "no one knows their neighbours anymore". But I'd have to kindly disagree. Our neighbours are the greatest part of our neighbourhood. They lend us flour, eggs, sugar, they care for our kids, they bake us goodies, and shovel our walks. They listen when we have hard time, as we listen to them in return. We all know each other and we all care for each other.
The village lives on, but it only lives on if you step out to meet it.
So, here's to knowing our neighbours, to taking our kids to the parks, and to keeping the community connections alive - and to peeing in the long grass.