03 September 2010

Scenes from a block party :-)...








OK - so... just as I said - scenes from a recent block party. Since we first moved here - when Olivia was a grade schooler, and I was pregnant with my Enzo - we have gone to this party (one year, we were just rolling in from vacation - many years I was pregnant and miserable if it was hot, but... we have always gone). I feel lucky to have been here to observe the 20 - 30 year + residents of this street playing Trivial Pursuit into the wee hours - grown kids participating when at one time they would have been in bed - adults laughing and nibbling at the leftover food or cookie trays while all the houses went dark and only citronella candles and street lights lit their game board (I still laugh, remembering one beloved neighbor, half of a younger childless couple we befriended for years, returning with his win - a giant cookie tray - having tried to drink beer with the street late night veterans :-) - I chatted with him wee hours - one of the years I was pregnant and unable to sleep). I happily remember the years my Olivia and her friend, Cecily, would organize the bike decorating - lay out sidewalk chalk for the younger kids - make an afternoon of it (one year, Cecily broke her arm, playing as kids do - only to return the next year, like a trooper, to participate). I remember one year playing Guitar Hero using a sheet that we hung as a projection screen on the neighbor's porch. Those were the old days, and they seemed to just end a year or so ago. Kinda sad.

So ... this year was different than all the others. Actually, like I said, the past few years have been different. One visible neighbor has died - another is away for the summer - many kids have left for college or moved out of their parents' homes - a number of people have moved out of the area and those who are new don't attend or only stop by for an hour or so - my daughter's pal and her family don't attend anymore, feeling like they don't know anyone, and.... in truth, in a couple of recent years, someone newer to the street would invite people that the rest of us didn't know that well - other people took over the bike parade, leaving the kids out, and... well - now it has all ended. Next year, I vow to take that upon myself. Don't want my boys disappointed again this year - no parade - no prizes. I have to admit - I do miss those who have moved away or are no longer here with us.

So ... despite all this ... I did have fun. I met new people - I watched Lil thoroughly enjoy herself (allowed to be in the street! the lights! the food! the doggies - or goggies, as she says ;-) - me and a few other parents threw together an impromptu bike parade. It was fine. I found myself, once again, by myself - hubby and Olivia had other unavoidable engagements and our friends turned in early (perhaps also not feelin' the new vibe this year ;-), so... it was just me and the little ones again. As I look back on my muddy boys - running from the "clubhouse" to their little trikes, which they would gleefully ride through all the eating and chatting adults - down our hilly street - laughing with the kids down the street or next door AND, as I reflect on me and Lil sitting on the curb, eating brownies and watermelon and dancing for our new friends (well... she did - not me ;-), I think it was, all in all, a good night. Maybe this is the new wave - a transition of sorts.

Often, when hubby and Olivia set off on one of their many successful social adventures, leaving Mommy, queen of the casseroles - conquerer of laundry and messy pull-up accidents - CEO of the Home ;-) - to fend for herself, I feel left out - like I am missing out - like I am left with nothing to do. This night, however, I loved walking the dim streets, misty rain on my face - I loved letting the kids eat whatever they wanted off the folding buffet table - I loved watching them enjoy themselves both with some new and old friends. And now.... a week or two later.... as I look back, I can see that I am the lucky one - I'm the one who had something important to do - I did not miss out. These moments - however imperfect - are life-affirming and very special. Odd, hands-free, messy, dinner al fresco time with my wild ones. Love it. And even this transition from the old traditions seems OK - and I feel lucky to have participated when we were the new people being welcomed into the fold. Maybe it is time for me to do the same with others. Hope I accomplished some of that this year :-).

In closing, I want you to look here. It is a sad story (stolen from Nienie's blog - my blog list), but... it provides an opportunity to check in on people who have experienced loss and who may need support now and then. Remember that life-affirming feeling I just described - remember those moments to cherish that, hopefully, popped into your head as I recounted a couple of mine? Well.... time to cash in....

And, speaking of neighborhoods... we watched Gran Torino last night (have I mentioned before that we are waaaay behind in movies? ;-). Pretty good. Sad. Happy. Life-affirming message - definitely.

5 comments:

TKW said...

I think the idea of a block party is great fun--it hails back to a time when everyone actually KNEW their neighbors.

Mendy said...

I'm with you. Let's take back the block party next year. We were all disappointed. We need the kid activities to be organized, if only loosely. Don't know if we can wrest it away from the organizers down the street - I hear it's "their" thing.

We watched Gran Torino a while back and I did like it, though I felt depressed. Clint Eastwood is a badass at any age.

Aimee said...

Fear not! Speaking for myself, I'm THRILLED to step aside. :-)

Sherri said...

Oh no - Aimee - You do a great job. I should help more, which.... as I say here.... I did not this year. I quite like the direction the party is going. Was missing my hubby and oldest, however. Though... like I said - if I think on it, "things" can be fun without them.

Sherri said...

Oh - also - I forgot about the bike parade - which - did you prompt? Anyway - me and my kids had fun like we always do. Back to add this actually - Admittedly, I am missing some of the neighbors who aren't here anymore, aren't you? I think we all are a little bit.... I DID think it was a good night - rain, my cranky two year old, absent family members and all. I am, for the record, not good at organizing - though.... should help more like I did years ago. I have gotten away from that. Like I said, I'm diggin' the new traditions..... Feeling odd that my 14 year old doesn't participate anymore - wondering why the old friends don't come - that kind of thing.... Seems everyone is so busy for everything these days :-). Weren't we saying that earlier this summer?