Mom and Dad

They lived near the entrance to the neighborhood, the couple we referred to as Mom and Dad. They were a bit older than us and seemed to be retired, though we don’t know for sure since we never met them.

They had the most beautifully landscaped/manicured yard in our subdivision, sure to catch the attention of anyone driving in. It was so immaculate and inspiring, it almost made you believe all the other yards were just as perfect, though very few were.

The two worked in their yard every morning–mowing, trimming, planting, pruning; a familiar sight on my drive to work. And if I came home for lunch, I would find them sitting in red chairs, sharing a pitcher of iced tea and gazing at their yard, enjoying the fruits of their labor. The pride they took in their yard translated to us having more pride in our neighborhood. They were the sorts of neighbors one dreams of having. We were impressed by their artistry and by their efforts to make this a nicer place to live—so impressed, in fact, that we claimed them as family, Mom and Dad.

Sadly, Mom and Dad moved a few years ago to be closer to children and grandchildren, as I understand it, and the neighborhood has never looked the same; none of the subsequent owners have maintained the yard as well.

It’s a great loss when family moves away. Even family you don’t know.

Since my husband and I recently retired, we have the leisure of walking our dog at a time most people are settling into daily routines at the office.   During our walk one morning, I commented to George that people in the neighborhood probably looked at us now as that cute retired couple. Like Mom and Dad.

Not two minutes later, an SUV pulled up, its window came down, and the young woman driving leaned toward us and said, “I love seeing you walk your dog and work in your yard together! You’re such a cute couple! You remind me of my mom and dad!”

So there it is. We have become the Mom and Dad of the neighborhood.

Many of our long-time neighbors, ones with children who went through school with ours, are moving. Some are downsizing; others need a one-level home due to arthritic knees. Their homes are being purchased by young couples, so it seems we are now the oldest people in the neighborhood. It’s our turn to inspire this younger generation the way Mom and Dad inspired us.

Don’t worry, young neighbors, we don’t plan on moving any time soon. Just be aware that before long, it will be your turn to be admired when walking your dog or working in the yard. You, too, will eventually earn the chance to be Mom and Dad to the neighborhood.

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