It was a night I decided to make a full meal for my family.
No food delivery app. No frozen pizza. No chicken nuggets for the kids and a deli sandwich for my husband and me.
A real, full meal with a main course and a couple of sides . . . because, gosh darn it, I was going to feel accomplished today, and we were going to sit down as a family and enjoy some time together and talk about our days like families should do. (*hard nod*)
But just as I was dancing around my kitchen with almost everything cut up and the oven preheated, I looked at the last step of prep in the recipe and saw it.
The ONE ingredient I couldn’t skip wasn’t on my list when I went to the store an hour prior.
The dancing stopped and my shoulders slumped.
“Welp, it was a good effort but you better find that delivery app fast,” my brain told me.
But before I melted down faster than the cheese would in the oven (IF I had remembered to get it at the store!), I went straight to the neighborhood group text.
“Who can bail me out and save me a trip back to the store and a whole lot of unwanted frustration?”
Within seconds, I got pictures of what they had in their refrigerators and offers for them or their kiddos to deliver it in a measuring cup to my door. (OK, so maybe no delivery app that night, but emergency neighbor delivery was welcomed).
And that’s just how it goes in this neighborhood.
Someone needs something, someone is ready to step in.
Sometimes it’s the typical life things like offering up the extra space in your garbage can on pickup day because your neighbor decided to clean out their whole house that weekend.
Sometimes it’s an all hands on deck when someone’s basement floods. Sometimes it’s helping one family take care of their whole fundraising goal for their kid’s soccer team with one text of a link. Sometimes it’s a pressure washer borrow for an hour or an ask for a recommendation for the best local nail place.
But a lot of times, it’s so much more than that.
A lot of times, it’s a hug at the bus stop when someone knows you’re having a hard time.
It’s a front-porch sit to vent out life’s frustrations.
It’s a heads-up text letting you know they noticed your child was upset while they were playing with a group in the front yard.
It’s a delivery app gift card for the new mom because she shouldn’t be doing that cook a full meal thing for her family when she’s managing newborn life.
It’s a “haven’t seen you in a while are you OK?” mental health check via text.
It’s an offer for help if one parent is traveling for work.
It’s a surprise driveway shovel from a neighbor who knows you have a lot going on.
It’s a saving-grace statement of “Hey, I’ll watch the kids while they play out back—why don’t you go have some time to yourself.”
Really, it’s the comfort of knowing you have the unwavering support of your neighborhood for all of life’s things both big and small.
Because on that day beside my stove it was simply about a missing cup of cheese, a lot of times those who make up my neighborhood are the ones who end up filling the voids when life left out that one ingredient I needed to get through the day.
And I don’t know what I’d do without them.