Dear New Neighbors…

by | Nov 19, 2016 | Memes and Military Humor, Military Life, New Military Spouse, PCS | 4 comments

This is how I feel every time new people move into our neighborhood on a military base. I want to run over to their house and shout all of this:

“Welcome to the neighborhood! We saw your moving van pull up yesterday. The house has been empty for over a month now, so we were wondering who would come live there.

I can’t wait to meet you and learn more about you. We could use some fresh energy and talent here. What parts of the country have you lived in? Are you interested in running, cooking, reading, or crafting? Do you like to volunteer? Do you have a home business? I just hope it’s not LulaRoe, because we already have tons of them around here!

I don’t know you yet, but I’m sure we have a lot in common. After all, both our husbands serve in the same branch of the military. Like me, you have probably had your fair share of moves, deployments, last-minute changes in plans, and job searches. I know you have a 3-bedroom house, so I wonder if your kids are the same ages as mine? If you live in this neighborhood, our husbands are probably similar rank. But that is a taboo topic for wives, so we will politely avoid the topic until our husbands start spying on each other while in uniform to figure it out.

New neighbors in base housing: we won't ask rank, just spy on each other. Click To Tweet

I’ve moved enough times to know how hard it is to start over in a new neighborhood. I know that those first few days are frantic and frustrating. You need everything and you don’t know a single person to ask for help. I want to be one of the first helpful people you meet. I will be happy to point you in the direction of the Commissary, or tell you where the school bus stops. I will lend you some milk, or a cup of flour, or even my washing machine if you need to do laundry. I will watch your kids while you unpack. I don’t mind, really! I have 4 kids of my own, so adding more into the mix is easier than you may imagine. I want to help this move go smoothly for you. You just need to ask.

Der New Neighbor: I want to help, but you have to ask. Click To Tweet

But I also know how awkward it is to ask for help. I’ve been there, desperately needing help, and wishing that I could ask some of the well-adjusted people around me for advice and assistance. But I don’t want to admit that we don’t have any lawn care tools. Or that I don’t know what the local grocery store chains are named. I don’t want to ask a random stranger I met on the playground if I can use her name on the school emergency contact form. So, like you, I have put on a brave face and said “everything is going well.”

So here’s the deal: We don’t have to become best friends, but I hope that we can be friendly neighbors who help each other out. I’ll start. I’ve been keeping a batch of cookies in the freezer, knowing that someone would move in soon. They are for you… as long as my children don’t eat them or smash them first. Someone once made cookies for me, and their kindness got me through the first week of a challenging PCS. I am happy to pay it forward to you.

In return, here is all I ask:

  • Please be patient with my kids. They play outside a lot. And they are loud. I know this, that’s why they are outside in the first place.
  • Please don’t judge me. I am a normal mom who has good and bad days, just trying to get through this military life. I’m sure we do some things differently and have different opinions. That’s fine, we can still be friends as long as we don’t judge each other.
  • Please give me your cell phone number. I may need to call you one day to help me out. I will do the same for you.
  • And finally, please don’t let your dogs bark all day. Everyone in this neighborhood has 2 dogs. It can get pretty noisy if they are all left alone outside.”

That’s what I want to say. But what do I actually do? I politely wait a day or two for them to get settled, then I stop by with a plate of cookies, and chat for a few minutes while my kids ask a million questions. I hope they can read between the lines, and take me up on my offer of “let me know if you need anything.” If I am lucky, our children will play together later. If not, then we may not talk much for the next two years. Who knows? It could go either way.

What do you say or do when you have new neighbors?

4 Comments

  1. JenMcDonald

    Spot ont! Honestly, the longer we’ve been in, the more I do and say that first part–I give my number right away since I know they’ll be registering kids for school or youth center and will need a contact. I try to figure out interests somehow just so I can see if we’ll have anything in common! I usually go by right when I see a moving truck, even if I don’t have cookies or something yet just to say hi and drop by promised cookies later. I don’t stay long, it’s more a hello and acknowledgement that they’re new to the neighborhood. Some people will be weird and unfriendly no matter what you do, but others are so thankful to have someone reach out right away and that makes it worth it!

    Reply
    • Lizann

      Jen, those are really great ideas! Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you would be a wonderful neighbor who would really make people feel welcome. If more people were like that, base housing would be one of the most helpful and welcoming neighborhoods anywhere. That’s what I want to see!
      The phone number is always a challenge. Everywhere you register requires 3 emergency contacts, even though you just moved and don’t know anyone. I’m always grateful when someone shares their number.
      Thanks again for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Taylor Rippey

    My husband has been national guard for the past 10 years and 5 of those I have been with him for. But he has decided he wants to go active duty (Army) and so we are taking that plunge in July and will be doing a full DITY move once he is back from reclass at AIT. I am absolutely terrified about packing up our lives and moving away from our families and moving to a new place with my barely a toddler (1 and a half). I am not the best at making new friends but if someone did half of what you said you want to say to a new neighbor I think I would cry and hug you. I hope and pray we get neighbors like you!

    Thank you for giving me a little more hope about our future neighbors.

    Reply
    • Lizann

      Awwww, moving is tough! And you never know what kind of neighbors you’ll get. But if you put yourself out there, ask questions, join groups, etc then I usually find that people are super helpful. I wish you luck with the upcoming move!

      Reply

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