The following essay was my entry for the Edy's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute. I'm so excited to be a grand prize winner, which means I'm one of 1,500 people across the country who get to throw an ice cream party for their neighbors courtesy of Edy's. The party will be later in July, but I thought I'd post the essay now because it fits with yesterday's post about moving in. It may also remind you of my 50-word autobiography from earlier in the spring.
In August 2003, my husband and I bought our first house, located in the Lakemont neighborhood of Raleigh, N.C. Over the next few years, we had our first child and became good friends with our neighbors. Our neighborhood group quickly became our community support network – the people who brought dinner when you'd had a family illness, watched your kids in a pinch, offered hand-me-downs and holiday treats, donated to your causes, cheered your talents, celebrated your successes and mourned your losses.
In July 2007, we sold our house in Lakemont to move to Greensboro for a great job opportunity. We didn't want to leave Raleigh, but felt like it was the right decision for our family. Long story short, over the next 11 months, the job opportunity fell apart, we had our second child, my husband found a new job in Raleigh, we sold our house in Greensboro, moved in with my parents for two months, bought a house back in Lakemont (a few streets over from our first home) and moved back to Raleigh in June 2008. Phew.
When our friends from the neighborhood showed up in the front yard of our new house at the same time that the moving truck pulled up to the curb, we knew we'd made the right decision to return. It was an exhausting year – both emotionally and physically – but we felt that coming back to Lakemont was coming home for us, returning to our "family."
Our neighborhood isn't fancy, the houses aren't glamorous, the residents aren't making millions. But we have a wealth of community that I think is rare in a time when people are so transient and keeping up with the Joneses is more about the car you drive than about what sort of help the Joneses might need.
We’d love to host an Edy’s party to say thank you to all our friends and neighbors, new and old, and to celebrate how wonderful they are – they’re what makes Lakemont home for us.