There's No Place Like Home
There is something to be said about living in a community where you can really and truly rely on your neighbors. While my husband and I have our roots in New York City (he's from Queens and I'm from Brooklyn, NY), back in 1998, we decided to venture to uncharted territory. No, we didn't head out west to California or south to Florida, we drove over the Throgs Neck Bridge to New Rochelle and found a new place to call our home.
Before we became parents, we moved in and instantly became friends with Holli and David, a couple we bonded with on our commuter train into Manhattan. At the time we met them, Holli was pregnant with her first child and I found out I was pregnant soon after. Holli guided me through every step of my pregnancy, since she was three months ahead of me. She was the older sister I never had - welcoming us into her family, introducing me to her sister and parents and connecting me to the neighbors she had begun to meet since moving in the previous year.
By the time both our daughters were nearly three years old, Holli experienced a profound and unimaginable loss. Her adoring husband was one of the victims who lost their lives on September 11. I remember visiting with my friend in the days following the attacks and didn't know what I could say or do to comfort her. What I also remember are the countless neighbors, acquaintances and friends from our community who came out to support her. Sending her cooked meals, sitting by her side, holding her hand and comforting her whenever she needed it. At the time of David's death, Holli was nine months pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter one month after her husband's passing.
Fast forward nearly a decade and I still consider Holli to be my "big sister" - I know that she would do anything for my family and despite her hectic schedule as a single mom, she always manages to go out of her way for others and remembers the strangers who went out of their way for her.
What amazes me about my friends is how they instantly mobilize when someone is in need. From cooking meals for loved ones who are experiencing a stressful situation or loss, to watching their kids, to being there to hug them or just listen when they need a shoulder to cry on.
I truly feel blessed to have found a community filled with individuals who watch out for one another. Random acts of kindness go a long way in my book and thankfully, I have a long line of good friends who feel exactly the same way.