Ever since I was little, anytime I watched one of those shows with little houses all sitting close together where neighbors had barbecues and talked over the fences, where neighbors really helped one another and looked out for each other, where community was really that, I’ve always dreamed of finding that place that felt like that to me.
When I grew up, I realized life wasn’t really like that and even though I often tried to make my life fit that picture it never quite worked.
Yesterday, as I walked to my neighbors trailer to get food for her birds that I was caring for while she was in the hospital, I looked around this park and sighed a contented sigh. I looked around and realized, although not perfect, that I had found that community I had been seeking for so long.
Don’t get me wrong, there are imperfections, annoyances, and moments I want to pull out my hair, but more often there are girl talks on the porch of the main building in the morning, pot lucks once a month where we all share and spend time together, people who look out for one another, helping a neighbor empty her kiddy pool because she can’t lift it, sharing food with a neighbor because their money is short, driving a neighbor to the store, waving to folks as they drive by, warm smiles by folks who know you, and people who will knock on your door if they haven’t seen you in a few days to make sure you are okay. There are trips to the thrift store with the gals. There are inside jokes and knowing looks. There are moments of helping a friend when they are falling apart. There are cookouts, potlucks and other party like events to celebrate when a neighbor has an accomplishment.
Don’t get me wrong, I miss Maine in many ways. It was the place I grew up. It is the place where so much of life happened to me. It was my safe haven. When I was little my only other dream was that one day I’d live in my grandmother’s house. I had it all planned out. I think I even kept her parrot in my fantasies. And who knows what the future holds. Here is also my safe haven, the first one I’ve felt I had since leaving Maine. Here is where life doesn’t happen to me, but I create a life. So for the moment I’ve found home and I’m holding onto it for all I’m worth.
I’ve thought of leaving, I’ve kept us as mobile as possible, but the reality is, I love this place because I love people. I love them all, the good, the bad, the ugly and even the slightly crazy. They are becoming family, they are a community, and they are precious to me.