Yesterday, we went to a birthday party for the little girl who lives across the street from us. She turned 3 years old on Saturday, and on Sunday, her parents threw a party and invited their families and all the neighbors.
Jim and I always feel really happy to be living in this neighborhood after going to a party like this. The people who live on our street are really close. For example, the two boys who live next door and the girl across the street often have sleep-over parties. They play with each other everyday. Their parents seem to be best friends. Some people on this street seem to have known each other their whole lives. They have their own culture in some ways. For example, do you know what they call those little single-serving cartons of ice cream that you often get at ice cream socials? Hoodies. Named after Hood ice cream, of course - a Boston institution. We learned this yesterday. They served Hoodies, along with a home-made sheet cake, made by our next door neighbor for the birthday girl. (Apparently she did a "test run" cake a few days ago, which she was passing out to all the neighbors, but we missed it).
For a long time, I was sad that we couldn't seem to "break in" to the clique of the street. We talk differently, we didn't grow up in Quincy, and we are often on the road, traveling to see family. But now that Annie is here, I think we are fitting in better (although I do still have my doubts about completely fitting into the clique). I think that once Annie is up walking and talking, she'll be a natural with the other kids. There will be lots of kids to play with - there are the two boys next door, the little girl across the street and her baby brother, who is only 2 weeks younger than Annie. Then, there's another little baby a few doors down who will be born in September. We got to meet those neighbors at the party yesterday.
All the neighbors love Annie. They always want to hold her and kiss her and talk to her. I remember when we took her out in the stroller for the first time, one of the neighbors ran and got his wife, who was eating dinner. She jumped up and ran outside so she could meet Annie, pizza still in hand. This is the sort of neighborhood I always hoped to live in. It's similar to the neighborhood where I grew up, which was full of kids my age and neighbors who looked out for each other.
Sometimes I'm sad that we live so far from family, but the truth is that we have a pretty established life here in Boston, and perhaps more friends than I always consider. We do our best to maintain our relationship with our family, and hope that they will put in the same effort.
And now that Annie has FINALLY gone down for her nap, I can finally clean up the house and head out to lunch with Jim!