I have been a distracted neighbor the past few years. Two families moved into the cul-de-sac in the years when I was cocooned in my misery and distracted by the work to break out of the tight spot I was in. They’ve each had two children, and the sweet things are old enough to play together and spend a lot of time in the cul-de-sac.
One evening I struck up a conversation about one couple’s landscaping. I asked questions about what they’d chosen to plant and the maintenance required. I began telling the wife about the lawn hurdles that I was trying to overcome and the things I’d already conquered on my own as a solo homeowner.
I described the too-big pampas grass and how I’d cut it down by hand last summer with shears I’d bought at ALDI for $9.99. I told her how I really needed electric hedge trimmers to cut the grasses down shorter as the YouTube video demonstrated.
I lamented all the work ahead of me and how sad and overwhelmed it had made me in the past. My neighbor said, “Girl, you're stronger than you think. If you can do all that you've done, you can tackle your backyard. When you're ready, call me. I'll bring over my electric hedge trimmers, and we'll figure out how to do what you want.”
The sun went down, the streets lights blinked on, and it was bath and bedtime for her little ones. I thanked her for the pep talk and the offer of hedge trimmer and help, and walked back to my house. It's amazing how big problems can look smaller when they are viewed from a different vantage point. My neighbor's words were uplifting and encouraging. I was rejuvenated and motivated to keep on working. To keep making progress. To keep seeing where my efforts might lead. To imagine what beauty I might be able to conjure.