All of my life I have envisioned myself on a small plot of land in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin. I always thought I’d make a place in the town I call home. Then, our first grandchild was born. Then our nephew came. Then our second grandchild. And our third. Then our niece. Then our fourth grandchild. Now a fifth grandchild is due in just two short months. The pull to the country has remained strong, so I came up with a rule that said we could not move more than thirty minutes away from my folks, our kids, grandkids, or nephew and niece.
I found a town that fits that requirement about a week ago. Then, I remembered another snag: we really enjoy our neighbors. These days, it is rare to find neighbors who are helpful, friendly, outgoing, and as I call them, “old school”. We have frequent gatherings like the annual block party, the newly created annual pancake breakfast, and annual 4th of July party after the parade.
Our next door neighbors bake cookies with their kids every year and have the boys bring us over a box (along with a bottle of creamy chocolaty liquor in a cute little antique-looking bottle for us grown-ups). They gather other neighborhood kids and go door-to-door singing Christmas carols. They drop off leftovers. In turn, we share raspberries, extra garden plants, and help with various chores around their house (the homestead husband is well-known for his handiness with power tools and carpentry work).
They know our kids and grandkids. They shared our joy on our wedding day (seen below) and shared our excitement at the weddings of two of our four children and the birth of the last three (soon to be four) grandchildren.
We are truly blessed. I am coming to believe that part of the Amish proverb “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” applies here. It has been showing up more and more in many areas. As I seek to simplify my life, I believe this falls under the “make it do, or do without” portion. When I mentioned how badly I wanted to live in the country, a friend promptly told me, “Honey, you are already there. It’s in your heart.” I know she is right. I’ve always been there. Country living has always been in my heart. For the moment (and that is really all we have), we will have to make this suburban homestead do. We can make it work. We already have in so many ways.