Praying for a Village

I wrote this blog over a year ago and saved it, intending to post it once we were settled. Obviously, I forgot about it once the boxes arrived and the frantic need to unpack and decorate set in, but regardless, it holds true, no matter which move we’re on or where we’re headed:

Jay and I are in the middle of our tenth…no, ninth?…eleventh?…oh, who knows? At any rate, we are in the middle of yet another military move, right at Christmas, perfect timing. Jay is in Kansas, signing into our new quarters, while I’m still in Georgia, signing us out of our old ones. I walked through the house yesterday, saying good-bye, and I realized that this house, unlike all the others, had become home.

It’s not just the house that makes a home. It’s the people, certainly the people who live in the house, but it’s also the neighbors. We had wonderful neighbors here, families who looked out for each other and spent time together. We’ve had the most fun on random Friday nights, when someone would pull out a couple of camp chairs and sit out in their yard. One by one the neighbors would saunter over to chat. Then more chairs would appear. Before long, someone was pulling out corn hole boards or a fire pit, someone else would order pizza, and we’d end up sitting outside way past dark, letting the kids play, just talking and laughing.

We said it was like living in the 1950s. Our kids played outside every day. They would come home from school, have a snack, do homework, and out they’d go. On Saturdays, they’d be out for hours. Every family had kids, and they all came out to play. They had races and battles. They rode bikes, scooters, and pogo sticks. They built forts and jumped on trampolines. We knew everyone on the street, and the number one rule was: don’t go past the stop sign. Otherwise they were free to roam. We knew where they were from the happy sounds of playing coming from the backyards. When the street lights came on, moms would come out the front doors and start calling in their progeny, tired and filthy, ready for dinner, baths, and bed. They’ve lived an idyllic childhood on this street, and we made some of the closest friendships of our adult lives.

I had other moms I could call on when I was running late or had an appointment, who were always willing to pick up my kids when they picked up their own and look after them till I got back. I could send our oldest next door to ask for an onion or a tomato when I found myself short of an ingredient. Once, when our neighbor’s wife went out of town for a funeral, he was left home with their toddler, and she got sick. All the moms rallied around and told him what to do, giving him popsicles to feed her when she wouldn’t eat or drink and her fever got too high. That’s how life should be. That’s the real meaning of “neighbors.”

As we move on to our next assignment, I find myself praying, not for a bigger kitchen or more closet space, which would, of course, be nice, but what I really hope for is a family of neighbors. I’m praying for my kids. That they can still have the idyllic childhood, where they can get out and run and play with friends, learning how to converse and solve problems and work as a team. I’m praying for people who’ll help me when I need it and who I can help. I’m praying for a village.




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