Being Neighborly

Chris, Max, and I were unloading groceries after a trip to Super Target this afternoon. On the way home, we noticed that many of our neighbors were out – talking, washing cars, or just walking around enjoying the beautiful weather. As he closed the hatch on the Highlander, Chris encouraged Max to go next door and say hello to the boy sitting out there, maybe show him his train. We have all spoken with this boy many times and he is always sweet and friendly with Max, even though he is older.

Normally, there would be no greater lure for Max than hanging out with one of the “big” boys, but he had spotted the neighbor across the street washing his car. I think he was so interested in that he had to have a closer look. (I know. He’s never seen us washing a car. We let them get as dirty as we can stand and then go through the drive-through.)

I walked him across the street and Chris followed, still carrying all of the groceries, including two new litter pans. As we walked up, I called out that Max wanted to come over and say hello. Our neighbors across the street are two of the most gracious, friendliest people in the world and he greeted Max enthusiastically. Chris and I were prepared for our usual driveway chat, but the next words out of Max’s mouth were, “Can we see inside your house?”

I began to remonstrate with Max about inviting yourself into someone’s home, but before two words were out of my mouth, our wonderful neighbor enthusiastically responded, “Sure, you can see our house! Come on in, Max!” and led us inside, Chris trailing behind with the litter pans, calling out to his wife that “The Farmers are here!”

Chris and I are pretty shy people. We want very much to be good neighbors, family members, and friends, but we seem to forget to reach out to people sometimes. These particular neighbors had been wonderfully friendly and warm ever since we first moved in over three years ago. All of the neighbors are wonderful here. The fact that we actually know them at all speaks volumes for their friendliness and willingness to reach out.

So, we were very surprised, but actually pleased that Max had invited himself in. We received the unexpected gift of a lovely conversation with wonderful neighbors we are very lucky to have. Of course, true to form, I enjoyed myself, but with the constant hum of anxiety in the background. I worried about overstaying our welcome.  I worried about leaving too soon and having them think we didn’t enjoy spending time with them. I worried about the fact that we have never had them over for dinner.

Max is usually pretty shy, too, but he always wants to go in people’s houses. I am so glad he spoke up today. He wanted to go in and he said so. Chris and I didn’t even realize how much we wanted to go in until Max asked. I am going to work on not worrying and just taking it one neighborly encounter at a time. As I’ve said before, I’m going to keep reaching and I hope others will, too.

1 Comment

  1. Debi Shaw said,

    June 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Watching out for one another in a neighborhood is really what it’s all about……. I love the honesty that kids have.. We grownups could learn a thing or two from them.. Good job, Max…

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