We are so lucky to live in such an incredible neighborhood. Never in my life have I felt so supported, so loved, so welcome and such a part of a community. In fact, before moving here I never imagined neighborhoods like this could truly exist outside of old Mr. Rogers reruns.
It seems there is a story of how we have been supported, loved, welcomed or surprised by random acts of kindness every month since moving here just over a year ago, but since having our babies in December it has become a weekly occurrence. There are simply too many stories to recount in detail in such a little space (a local restaurant donating and delivering food to help us with crazy postpartum life; dozens and dozens of moms donating and delivering breastmilk when we were struggling to feed our babies; neighbors watching our backs, feeding our pets, repairing our appliances, providing moral support to name a few), but this week's deserves to be told.
My husband works at the local co-op here, and it seems everyone in the whole zip code knows and loves "the French guy"; I run into members of our community daily who know me and my boys by name, who know my story, who followed Owen's struggles in the beginning, who send us their love and wish us well. Stranger is not an appropriate word here in Columbia City/Hillman City/Seward Park. A bit strange as in quirky, perhaps, but we are far from estranged. We are all members of one big communal melting pot of love and there is comfort somehow in knowing you have a place in the hearts of people you have never even met.
A few days ago my husband was making conversation as he always does with a customer going through his check-out line. She was wearing a hiking backpack designed specially for wearing your baby and he asked if she liked it. We have been talking about getting one (or two) for months and months, maybe years, probably since before I was even pregnant. We'd daydream about going on hikes with our baby (yes, singular, as we were expecting only one), how we'd get out of the city every weekend and let our new little person breathe in the fresh mountain air.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you how many times that has happened since the boys arrived.
So they had a small conversation about hiking backpacks and the pros and cons and what she liked and so on and so forth. He mentioned we have been considering purchasing one, hence his interest in hers.
My husband is one of the most sincere people I've ever met. He asks questions like these all day because he is genuinely interested. He wants to learn. He wants to know you. People can sense it. They generally open up and truly answer. I thought this type of contact with strangers was extinct; maybe it's my husband, maybe it's the neighborhood, but I am telling you people, it does exist.
He gets home from work later that afternoon and what is waiting on our doorstep? Two baby hiking backpacks in amazing condition. No note, no explanation, just sitting there.
A man comes by and introduces himself.
"You met my wife today," he explains. "You mentioned how you were interested in one of these. We are moving to Denver in two days and don't have room for them and we figured you might find some use of them."
Smile. Shock. Disbelief. Beat.
"But how did you know where I live?" my husband asks.
"Oh, we drove by your house once when you were getting out of your car with the twins. My wife recognized you at the store so we knew where you live."
Amazing the random acts of kindness from "strangers" here, no?
Thank you so much to the family who left us such a thoughtful gift! You are too kind, so much so that it makes me blush every time I see the backpacks sitting there waiting to be used! (Which I have promised ourselves we will on the next day we all have together where the weather accommodates.) I sincerely hope you find in Denver what you are leaving behind here in Seattle.
I've heard it is the most diverse zip code in the nation. I don't know if that's true, but it sure as hell is the most inspiring. May you all continue to amaze and inspire everyone around you! My only hope is to some day feel I contribute even a fraction as much to you as you have all contributed to our well being!