Farewell, Beloved Upstairs Neighbors

Tonight we had our neighbor/friends over for dinner and we’re at the point where I could ask him to carve the chicken while I dealt with kid stuff, and meanwhile she got butter out of the fridge to make a roux to fix my failed gravy. We’re at that point of comfort, which is awesome.

I mean, really, how many of us have friends or neighbors over for dinner, and if so, do we feel OK saying, “Hey, I need to go deal with Ben; can you cut up the chicken?” or “My gravy is a disaster. Can you fix it?”

Sometimes I have some real luck with friends and neighbors (I’m looking at YOU, Hillside clan!) and sometimes I continue to have some real luck with friends and neighbors (hey, Upstairs!).

Tomorrow Upstairs moves away. My kids like their kids. Their kids like my kids. The kids are the same ages, roughly. They don’t always play great together but it mostly works out. It was a good winter of toboggan pulls around the yard (snow mountains! everywhere!) and a long summer of sprinklers, kiddie pools, the neighbor kid behind us coming over the fence, mixing projects in the yard, and our monthly dinners.

It was a year of getting comfortable together, and some “Hey, can you pick up ____ from school?” or “Hey, can I leave ____ with you when I go pick up ____ from school?”

It was a year of sharing space, and sharing dinners, and sharing the plentiful root vegetables from our CSA farm. She is a much better cook than I am, but we’re both into food. He’s a pro at the charcoal grill and taught me to use our street-found one (our gas grill is awesome, but I wanted to learn to use charcoal).

It was a year of sharing “Can you watch the kids for a sec while I run inside?”

A year of working out the kids’ different play styles and allegiances and alliances.

A year of shoveling a lot of snow together.

A year of the kids biking together, when it was warm.

And when I was on crutches, she asked me almost daily if I needed anything from here or there or anywhere.

Tomorrow the movers arrive, late morning.

Tonight was the last dinner when they could just go upstairs (or us, just down) anytime.

They’re not moving far, but they won’t be in the same house. Making friends is hard, and though “community” is my theme for this year (no, you didn’t miss a post; I haven’t written about it yet), it takes a lot of energy to meet neighbors when you have school-age kids and no one ever seems to hang out in their yards and None Of Us HasĀ Time.

We’ll continue our monthly dinners; they’re not movingĀ that far away. But they’ll no longer be upstairs. They’ll no longer be the kind of neighbors my parents had 40 years ago, where you could just send your kids to their friend’s house to play.

Goodnight and goodbye. Thanks for telling us about this apartment, and thanks for a great year.

We miss you already.


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