In the summer, our neighborhood had Popsicle parties every Friday. I posted about it on Instagram and several people asked me about the logistics. It’s this simple: the person in charge of our neighborhood association emailed everyone at the beginning of the summer with a calendar. Anyone who wanted to host signed up for a Friday. Then on your day you bring a cooler full of Popsicles into your yard or driveway. That’s it.
It’s such a great idea because it provides a casual, kid-friendly way to meet neighbors, and for the host there’s minimal cost, minimal prep, and minimal clean-up. No one goes into your home, you don’t have to provide food, and Popsicles are cheap! Some families provided beer, some families provided games for the kids, but other families only had Popsicles. And, honestly, they were all equally fun.
When our Friday rolled around, Tom and I filled a huge cooler with Popsicles and another with drinks. Tom turned on music (not so popular that it was lame but not so edgy that it was weird) and brought the kids’ basketball hoop into the front yard.
Then we waited.
At the scheduled party time, we didn’t see anyone walking down the street toward our house. And 10 minutes later Tom and I were explaining to our children with awkward enthusiasm that we can have a Popsicle party with just OUR FAMILY! There are five of us and 50 Popsicles! If that doesn’t spell P-A-R-T-Y THEN WHAT DOES?????
All of the first day of school wonder-if-anyone-will-sit-with-me-at-the-lunch-table awkwardness in my thirties. No matter how old you are, making friends brings out clumsy, insecure side of all of us. What if…what if we throw a Popsicle party and no one comes? What then?
Eventually, lots of families came and we had a great time. Our yard was totally full of families and kids, and we Popsicle-partied well past bedtime.
As the summer went, I noticed that at each party we’d all talk about how great it was to meet other young families in the neighborhood, and then we’d all just leave. We’d talk about wanting to play and making connections, but we never did it.
So at my Popsicle party, I provided pens and paper, so we could exchange our names and phone numbers with one hand while eating Popsicles with the other.
People often ask about our move — if we’re settled, if we’ve made friends in the neighborhood. My answer, still, is…no. But we’re getting there.
It takes time, it all does. We left an amazing neighborhood where we knew all of our neighbors, had very close friends and constant playdates. But those friendships didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I’d lived in my house for more than 18 months before I even said hello to Cabell, and after that it took time and initiative from both of us to build a real friendship.
The first step is providing pens and paper, the next step is, you know, actually getting in touch. Scheduling playdates. Maybe I could invite all the neighborhood kids to come pick up all the acorns from my yard?
One night this summer we lost power, so our windows were open. Thomas must have had a bad night that night, because the next day one of our neighbors handed Tom a bottle of wine over the fence.
“This is for Amanda,” he said. “I kept hearing Thomas crying last night, and she deserves to relax after having to deal with that.”
See what I mean? We’re definitely still getting settled, but we’ve only been here five months and already this neighborhood is showing some serious promise.