I didn’t have the energy for it. The mental energy to watch 3 children running around having “fun,” foreseeing any hint of disaster for each, amending myself accordingly, and carrying on either superficial or lengthy, inquiring adult conversations.
But it was our neighbor who asked, a neighbor who goes out of her way to adjust to, learn about, support and understand our family. It was a birthday party for her niece. All the kids of the Sac would likely be there; fun would be had on our lawn as well as hers. Retaining complete routine would be impossible with all the joyousness that would seep through our walls. And Alex was “off”….
At the end of the night, most things having gone well, save for a half hour meltdown, I came to solidify a thought that had been peeking around the corners of my mind. Our neighbors aren’t all that bad.
I would be remise if I didn’t admit that this neighborhood took us by surprise. It’s very different from the one we just came from, we aren’t certain we all together fit in here with wants, hobbies, outlooks or even socioeconomic classes. The initial “fake” face can be seen on some, not on others, even more are cautious about what they reveal or the alliances they make and underneath it all, most are genuine.
There are more than enough caring, concerned, intelligent people who watch any child when they’re playing in the Sac, who would not allow any child to do something harmful, everyone’s willing to jump in, everyone’s willing to share, open their homes (and toy boxes). All, I have come to understand, are willing to help us, understand us, work with us in figuring out how best to navigate Alex with some of his needs; they have accepted our differences.
Having decided to partake in Wednesday night’s festivities allowed me to take off the colored shades I adorned and see my neighbors for the warmths that live within. It allowed me to be touched with their understanding of our purpose of constancy, stability, and struggle to maintain sanity within our lives. It allowed me to understand that they see what we go through, and though they may not have the complexity of understanding what we ourselves struggle to understand, they will help.
After more than a year’s adjustment, after many questions and considerations of whether we’d stay here, feel comfortable here, if this would be the best neighborhood for our family…I can say with absolute certainty that overall, the home itself is absolutely the best for Alex, for all of us. I can say for certain that we were lucky enough to land amongst those we now call our neighbors. We have been afforded a neighborhood that absorbs our whims, tries to understand our needs, jumps in with a warmth and understanding that I never thought probable when we first moved here.
And this knowledge is priceless.
(Photo By: Alex Kess)