Communal Living & NeighborsFor years Richie and I have talked about communal living with friends and family. I've blogged about our dream...our ideal life.
At the beginning of the summer a young family moved in next door to us. They moved into the house that had always been tenant occupied by strange, violent people who were not safe, let alone particularly friendly. This couple was different. There was quite and age difference between Mark and Natalie. They have 5 children: Angelica, age 9, Nick, age 7, Kamille, age 6, and twins--Jonah and Jakub ages 4.
They moved here from a 2 acre lot in rural Florida about 1 hour outside Panama City. They were southern, country folk with such similar values, morals, and ethics as us. Their children had manners. These are the first kids we've met since moving to Phoenix 5 years ago who say "please", "thank you" and "yes ma'am, yes sir"!! They have strong faith values. We had hit the jackpot!! This family was just wonderful. They were a God send considering all the horrible things we'd experienced from tenants before.
She and I had become great friends....you could say best friends. We were both stay at home moms with toddlers. She and her boys would pop over everyday and spend some time here with us. It was a great change of pace for Noah and I. It made life so much less boring. Over time we spent more and more time together as families, sharing meals, outtings, and babysitting. Several times her kids would watch movies in our living room on blanket pallets until they fell asleep. It makes me feel very special to know that their children were comfortable enough here and with us to fall asleep. They would occassionally sleep over! We'd veg out, have dinner, dessert and then a big breakfast in the morning.
Noah got to the point that when he learned to open the front door he would run over to their house, knock on their door and they would happily let them in. He grew to love them. He would cry when Natalie would leave here to go home. He would reach for her, snuggle her, kiss her and just sit and talk to her. He did the same with Mark. He had a bond with her that he shares with no one else here. He played with the children; he chased them and shared his food with them. He loved them too.
We spent so much time together that it became communal living. Their kids would randomly show up at our house. We had to watch her kids as if they were our own, and vice versa. She would snatch Noah up and take him to her house if I needed a bit of time. She would catch Noah if he ran off and keep him safe.
They became important fixtures in our lives. We have grown to love them and understand better the idea of communal living. We learned how to share so much of ourselves and our lives with another family--and we loved it. In this crazy thing we call life we felt so much less alone. We felt a part of something bigger than us. We liked the shared responsibility and the blessings it gave us.
They went back to Florida today to take advantage of a huge blessing they got. Bank of America forgave and erased their second mortgage making their house payment affordable. The downturn in the economy hurt them; so they moved here to start over. I don't blame them for going home. We encouraged it.
I know this is so very mellow dramatic, but I don't know what I will do with myself in the coming weeks without them (her). I don't know what to do when Noah runs to their house and knocks on their door and rings their bell and no one is home. I told God I know that he does nothing to hurt us (Jer 29:11). He allowed their blessing, and because of that we lost them, so I fully expect him to replace them with another wonderful family.