‘Welcome to Scooter Town!’ she said confidently.
With that proclamation, she handed me a large piece of sidewalk chalk and symbolically declared our acceptance into the neighborhood.
As I looked around at the other houses in our cul-de-sac, I noticed sidewalk chalk markings on many of the driveways and the street, evidence that more than one child had left their mark in an artistic variety of pink, purple and yellow.
Before we decided on buying our house in Fredericksburg, we knew neighbors would be very important – especially with two little girls of our own. I knew we wanted a safe area with friendly folks surrounding us, but what we got blew my expectations away.
When we pulled our U-Haul into the driveway, every neighbor stopped by to say, ‘Hello!’ and offered a kind welcome, but I could not stop thinking about that little girl who presented us with chalk and made us feel so accepted with her quick, youthful charisma.
Where we are from, we did not have any children as neighbors and now we have at least ten. While quite the change of pace for us, I have decided children make the best kind of neighbors for three simple reasons:
They are super welcoming.
As exemplified in the chalk presentation, kids don’t seem to care who you are or where you come from as long as you can draw. They are still too young to share in the bias and prejudices adults can face, they simply scope you out to see if you are friendly enough to be worthy of their Crayolas.
They don’t worry about formal introductions or invitations, they make themselves right at home (and allow you to do the same).
I love watching how the kids in my neighborhood play. They just run from one house to the next playing and, like a boulder gaining momentum, add kids to the pack as they visit and carry on. There is no need to ask whether or not you are invited, if you are outside, you are invited to play.
As we unloaded our U-Haul, the neighbor girls to the right of us came out to visit and pulled out the sacred sidewalk chalk and began doodling on our driveway as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I love that. I love the sense of community children naturally bring with them.
They are inclusive.
When we discovered our neighborhood was filled with children close to my oldest daughter’s age, I could not wait for her to meet everyone, but I wasn’t sure how they would react to her being the ‘new girl’ on the block.
Much to my delight, never having a formal introduction, as soon as my daughter saw a couple of girls her age standing at the edge of our driveway, she ran up to them and immediately they began swapping tall tales and sharing toys. It didn’t matter that they had never met before, the sweet innocence of childhood makes room for everyone.
I am so looking forward to watching my children grow up in ‘Scooter Town’ and watching as these friendships unfold. We have only been in Fredericksburg for a week now, but something tells me the sense of community we have witnessed in only a matter of days will give way to many years of joy as we plant roots and spend countless hours drawing on driveways.