Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New neighbors are overrated

Amy made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies, I piled them up on a fun snowman plate, called the kids and we shuffled through the snow yesterday to meet our new neighbors. We rang the doorbell with high hopes we’d be meeting new friends.

Within 10 seconds I was ready to snatch the cookies from the lady’s hands and go home.

Our new neighbor, while lovely, I’m sure, is from this area. Not just from the area, born and raised right here in our little town. They moved from a subdivision one mile away and they’re only renting for six months while they build a house in the subdivision they moved from.

Why would the news that she's from our town set me off? Because people who have ties rarely need new friends. They have family and established friendships and their dance cards are already full.

I should have figured – who the heck moves to Michigan? It’s not like there’s a booming economy pumping gobs of money into the area. (I still get quizzical looks when people find out I moved here from Georgia.) And in the three years I’ve lived here I’ve met only one – count ‘em, one – family who moved here without an already established support system. I thank God I met them as soon after our move as I did; I don’t think I would have made it through that first year without Molly and Jeff.

I chatted with the neighbor a few minutes then let her get back to the cable guy who was helping install her high-speed internet connection. As we walked home I felt tears burn my eyes. I tried to hold them back but it was just too much.

A trip to Target helped get me ready to face cooking dinner, but when Sean asked if I’d met the new neighbors tears once again stung my eyes.

“This is ridiculous!” I sputtered. Even so, I knew exactly why I was crying: I was hoping someone else was in my boat – another expatriate in a foreign land who might need a slightly more seasoned tour guide.

Don’t get me wrong; I have met wonderful people from my home school community and church who have completely disproven my "dance card full" theory. But none of them lives in my neighborhood and thinking that a new friend might be mere steps away…

Leave it to Michael to look on the bright side: “Well, Mom, we don’t have any fewer friends back there than we used to!”