life, currently

make believe: neighborly love

23 December 2019

beautifully baked pumpkin muffins + one egg {borrowed}

 

9:48 PM {my neighbor} Hiiii, can I bother you for one egg? 

9:49 PM {me} Yes, of course!

9:50 PM {my neighbor} Thank you! Knocking now 🙂

 

My mother was always an avid baker. She would buy two large bunches of bananas, knowing that one would brown before our family of seven could devour it, and bake several loaves of chocolate-chip banana bread. She would then carefully wrap each loaf and dispatch all five of her kids, bread in hand, to the neighbors for a delivery. There was never an expected repayment, though there often was. It was the nature of growing up in a small town with close neighbors. Neighbors that blur the line between a friend and family. I have to think that much of that connection was born of my mother’s generosity and love of sharing something made from scratch.

This specialness is something I always wanted to foster in my neighborhood. During my senior year of college I lived in the freshman dorms (I spent half my time off-campus in DC and thrifty as always opted for a cheaper single room than an apartment) and became the “big sister” of our hall. I helped girls dye their hair, talked them through rough relationships, and had a revolving door of young women hanging out, studying, and chatting about life. Moving to college post-college I lived in a house in a diplomatic neighborhood. We watched our neighbor’s homes when they traveled, received honey from their backyard beehive, knew their dogs, and sent muffin baskets to each other.

Moving to NYC in 2019 made me a little nervous. Was I going to lose this loving neighborhood relationship? Was I going to even know my neighbors? Life beautifully gave me a very special next-door neighbor. We’ve developed a very special bond over soup deliveries, borrowed eggs, and moments chatting in a stairwell. With a population of 8.6 million, it’s amazing how lonely this city can feel at times and having someone next door to water your plants, chat with, or dote on can be a very special feeling.

 

A few bits to help you shape a beautiful moment:

this basket for filling with small treats to share with anyone walking by.

a simple knock and introduction.

offering to walk their dog for them on nights they need to work late.

a handwritten note for the holidays.

leave them a special May Day basket this spring.

host an overdue housewarming party.

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