On Sunday evening I had a wonderful time celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday with several of our neighbors. The gathering was at the household of Mark Raderstorf and Linda Armstrong, the party organizers of the neighborhood. They are a very generous and open family who enjoy hosting gatherings at their house. When Elizabeth and I housesat for them last year, as they lived in Ecuador, there was a lot less socializing on the block.
Now, when I usually go over to their house, I am one of several ‘youngsters.’ The Raderstorf/Armstrong family has three children, Jeff, who is my age, Goosey, who is Dylan’s (my brother) age, and Jenna, the youngest. There are many other children on the block who are between Jeff and Jenna’s age who make their way through the house. All of the children on the block have grown up in the neighborhood, with Dylan and I being the late arrivals when I was in fifth grade.
But, on Sunday night, I was the only one of my generation. Which was surprisingly great. Since leaving for college, I have slowly matured into being able to enjoy the company of my parents and their friends, but never have I been so excited to spend time with adults 25-35 years my senior. The food was delicious, and Phyllis, the next door neighbor of Linda and Mark’s delighted us all by bringing bread and delicate desserts from Patisserie 46. I loved being able to talk with adults who are highly invested and leaders in our community. After dinner, Mark had everyone at the table go around and say one thing they appreciate about my mom. The ritual was corny, but also an amazing way to build my mom up, and have everyone practice seeing and articulating the strengths they see in someone else. Afterwards, Linda led us through the lighting of the hope candle for the first Sunday of advent. Although her readings was Christian based, she made sure the beauty and wisdom of the custom was accessible to the Christians, Jews, and Atheists around the table. I appreciated being included in the dinner, and I hope I am able to build a similar community where I settle down someday.