Joe and I have lived in our current rental longer than any of the others. It’s the house we brought our baby girl home to, the house where so many of her firsts happened. It’s a good house and I’ll miss it. We also have a nice neighbourhood. It’s a nice place to walk, there’s a park nearby – two actually not far from our house.
But it’s different from the neighbourhood I grew up in, where I knew a lot of the neighbours and many of them had kids my age or my sister’s age and we all went to school together. We don’t know any of our neighbours by name, though we have made up some names.
When we first moved in there was a lovely little old couple next door. They brought us wine at Christmas and she even crocheted a blanket for the new baby. We were sad to see them go, but the new couple that moved in seemed nice enough. Well, the guy was. The woman never spoke a word to us. Now he’s moved out and she still won’t acknowledge a hello or a nod. She also plays terrible music really loudly – often at bedtime. I don’t like her.
Then there’s the cat lady. This woman is a full blown stereotype. She’s a little strange, and she pays very close attention to us when we’re unloading the car in the driveway and she walks her cat through our backyard on a leash.
Next to her there is the man who happens to be a doctor in the armed forces who has been in Afghanistan. (Joe wrote about him once, it’s probably one of my favourite posts). I’m going to miss living that close to someone that could remind me every day that my life could matter more.
There’s the mother who seems a little weird – she wears very loud pajama pants in the morning when she waits at the transit stop with her teenage daughter, holding out a plate with toast. But her daughter also happens to shovel the driveways of some of the older folks on the street and I have to respect that.
There’s the woman who seems to run a home daycare who I wish I had talked to. There’s the man who sits in his driveway in a patio chair and makes me feel like he’s watching my every move. Somewhere there’s the man who lets his nasty, yappy little white dog run free, the guy with the really loud muffler.
And somewhere among these houses, there is the head of the ridiculously controlling condo board that I will not miss at all.
We drove through our new neighbourhood on the weekend. There were kids out playing and riding bikes, there were a few men playing road hockey, it felt like my old neighbourhood. Full of people like us, families with young kids that our kid will get along with, parents I’ll stand at the bus stop with, maybe some people we’ll invite over for a barbecue.
It felt happy.