We are not alone.

Before we moved to Viroqua, we were usually alone. We didn’t have many connections with our neighbors, despite everyone – including us – being friendly. My closest friend was 22 minutes away, and rarely was someone dropping by (with kids or without).

Sage was an only child in a very big way.

Lupine is growing up in a different world.

Our backyard connects with the backyard of my best friend from college, D. and her husband and son. We gave birth to our babes just three days and one hedgerow apart. Lupine and Cedar know only this reality, of people with connections. One where home extends beyond the back door, and a few short steps brings more loved ones to your day.

I don’t think a day has passed since we all collectively moved here when we didn’t see one one another – either across the yard or across the dinner table. Both Cedar and Lupine direct many of those exchanes, leading us through the yards to play, borrow toys, talk, or today – splash in the hot tub.

Community isn’t without effort.

There are times that our two families are falling all over each other and needing some space to breathe. But usually that’s about our own issues rather than anyone else’s. Or that phase where Lupine was beating on Cedar, and then that phase when Cedar was beating on Lupine.

But we evolve. We grow. We become better neighbors, better friends, better parents, better partners for the closeness. We have someone mere feet away to say “I had a terrible night” to when the babies won’t sleep or “you have to see what I just made” at 10 PM. (our baby monitors reach across the yards). We share lawn mowers, picnic tables, weekly meals, and sandbox toys. We share child care, coffee, campfires, and hot tubs.

We share our lives.

I cannot imagine life without community anymore.

It is at the heart of how we live and what we do each day, beyond our friends across the yard. When Lupine was born (just six weeks after we moved here) strangers brought us dinners for well over a month. Every single night. Really. Amazing. Dinners. With sweet little note and phone numbers and “welcome to town” loveliness.

Community runs deep here.

But having dear friends across the yard is the the microfoam on the latté (pardon the random metaphor – D and T own a coffee roastery). They plan to build a new house some day. I hope they don’t but I know they will.

Will I cry when they move? Most definitely. We all will.

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