Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Small Town Living

I was born in a small town.. 
and I live in that same small town. 
Married a Russian boy... 
brought him to this small town. 
Now he's small town, just like me...

(Obviously sung to the tune of John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town")

I love living in a small town. When I was in high school I felt different, but like a lot of people who think they know everything at 18, my life has come full circle. I wouldn't want to be any other place at this stage in my life. Sure, just like all of America, my home town isn't the same as it used to be. But the one thing that has never changed is the size. Our total population is probably less than a lot of apartment buildings in big cities. But it's home for me, and now also for my little family. There are ups and downs of this life, but I'm happy to give my kids a chance to experience the community feeling that as an adult, I now appreciate so much. I hope they will grow up with wonderful memories of being surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors who knew them, supported them, and loved them very much.

Seriously, where else could you have known so many people for most of your life? Our plumber is probably 80 years old, but he's been doing the plumbing for my family since before I was born and is the only person who actually knows how the bizarre plumbing in this house works. As for our house? It used to be owned by the grandparents of someone I went to school with my whole life. Our electrician is one of our closest friends whose wife I've known since I was five, and our builder/contractor is my cousin. How's that for small town living??

On any given day I can drive down main street and pass at least three people I know. At certain times of the day, passing my grandparents is a guarantee. They drive the same "up through, down through" route every day at least once. It takes them by our house three times. Our kids expect to see them when they are outside playing in the afternoon.

Yesterday I had a house full of kids. I love that! While they were here, my cousin stopped buy to drop something off. Then after school Stacy and Jacob and Jason arrived on their bikes to pick up Ethan. No scheduling required; just the freedom to come and go as we please since we all live so close to each other. My cousin just moved into her grandfather's old house a few miles from here. My parents live about a mile from us and my brother and his family live next door to them. All of my grandparents live less than a mile from my parents. Does it get any more small town than that?

I am so grateful for every one of these things. Despite the changing world, even within our small town, there are some things I know will stay the same. I will always know a good number of the people I see at the store or while I'm taking a walk with my kids. I will always have family close by to help with anything I need. I will always be able to tell my kids that I went to the same schools that they will attend. I will always feel welcome here and know that I belong. After all, I am a native in this very small town...

 No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be...

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