The Story of the Jackhammer

There’s a shortage of good stories out there in the news.  Are uplifting experiences at a record low these days?   Let’s replace negativity with love!  I heard a wonderful story that deserves to be told.  It's a story about good-hearted people that really care for others.  Sixty Minutes should tell the story.  They won't but I will. 

Eight years ago my daughter moved to a middle class neighborhood in southern California.  She gave birth to her firstborn.  Her navy officer husband abandoned her while overseas leaving her as a single mom with no family close by, no friendships.  She had not yet found a church family.  God answered our prayers; He provided the best neighbors.

Diversity in the Hood
The wonderful neighbors surrounded my daughter with offers to help with the new baby and dropped by with food and baby gifts.  They listened and hugged her in her pain.

You might think the neighborhood rooted from a faith-based group. Anything but!  The neighbors were as diversified as their homes.  I attended a few parties and met the Japanese woman, the Hispanic family, the gay couples, the conservatives, the young couples with kids and the elderly white folk who lived there since the 1940's.

My daughter remarried, but continued to live on that same neighborhood street.

Awhile back, an interesting new neighbor moved next door.  The Estonian senior, full of spunk and wit, turned out to be one of my daughter's closest friends over the past year.  Their discussions cover everyday living and politics.  Every morning the neighbor leaves her read copy of the Wall Street Journal on my daughter's door step.  She takes out the garbage cans to the street when my daughter forgets and babysits when emergencies arise.

Most importantly, she tells my daughter that she is an outstanding mom.

I hear, too, that the two women occasionally greet the end of the day with a glass of wine and good conversation.

I met the Estonian last Thanksgiving.  Everything about her impressed me and we enjoyed spirited conversation!  The Estonian shared dreams of remodeling, tearing down some old structure and rebuilding her home.  Her dreams materialized as the New Year began.

The continuous sound of the jackhammer blasted.  The Estonian apologized just about every day worrying how the workmen’s noise affects a stay-at-home mom raising young children.  My daughter overcame by spending more time with the kids in the park or at the library and joined every mom’s group available.  While home, she shut the windows and blocked out the canyon breeze and ran the A/C instead.

She made it work.

At first, my daughter declined when the Estonian woman offered to babysit the children and send their parents out on the town to alleviate her guilt for disrupting the neighborhood.

Finally, they agreed.

I found it amusing to hear how that Estonian gal, her daughter and son-in-law arrived to spend the evening with my grandchildren.  The wee ones enjoyed making homemade cookies with them and ordering pizza for dinner!  The neighbor family sat on the floor at the kids’ level and read their books with them and watched their favorite TV shows before putting them to bed.  What a sacrifice!  Perhaps it was fun for them to spend an evening with little kids, too.

The Estonian family sent my daughter and her husband to The Lot, a theater experience inclusive with dinner, and orders to stay out as late as they want!

These neighbors restore my hope for America!  Oh, that I can learn from this kind of sacrificial love and put my Christian principles in action.

What is your neighborhood like?


  1. It is well-known that a good neghbour is often closer than a relative, better than a friend. Good neighbours are usually a matter of luck, like everything else in life.
    Estonians are a Finnic (Finland) ethnic group, people of high quality and kind of nature.
    I suppose your daughter and her family are also good neighbours .

  2. I am very fortunate to have been blessed with lovely neighbours...and some have been like family to me!

  3. What a great example about not making generalizations or putting labels on others~
    The only neighbors we know well -- enough to cross the street to borrow a ladder or exchange a hug -- have put their home on the market and will be moving near their offspring. I totally get it, but it stings sometimes, being the ones left behind ..... wondering who will fill the void.

  4. Yes - we need more good stories and this is one of them. I don't like in a town or city, so we are not right next to our neighbors. They are nice and we say hi in passing, but it would be good to know them better, and as you say - put our Christian principles to work. Thanks for the nudge!

  5. Yes! Today we `know` so many people around the world through internet and the fast ness of technology, but it is becoming rare to know our neighbors and even rarer to show love to them!! So I felt the warmth of your beautiful story !!! Also just recently, about three posts ago, I wrote a post with a similar theme of neighborly kindness, as a neighbor from my building just stopped by and brought us a big watermelon (it was a part of her big watermelon, and she came to share it)!!! I even linked to your blog in the post, not knowing you wrote this post!! I linked to your table post, which also was about loving your neighbor!!

    I was going to ask if its ok to link , and then I came and saw this post with the similar themes, so I will hopefully take that as a yes!>! Love from your `neighbor` across the seas!!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful neighborhood your daughter lives in and what a great friendship she has with the other lady! We wave at our neighbors and that's about it. We did have to meet and talk with three of them when we first moved in since we were replacing a fence and out of courtesy let them know what we were doing (we didn't expect them to pay, we just wanted a new fence, 1/3 neighbors did offer to cover their half of the cost). I've started praying for my neighborhood, now I just hope I get the gumption to go out and meet more of them :)


  7. It is a wonderful gift to land in a neighborhood like your daughter's. Our son and family moved to Virginia in January and their neighbors immediately welcomed them with open arms--inviting their daughter to come over to play, bringing food, offering helpful advice about the school bus schedule, churches in the area, who to call for snow removal, etc. It was quite an adjustment for them, In their previous neighborhood in Chicago they rarely saw anyone in passing, let alone having a conversation.

  8. Wow! What a warm environment for your daughter to live in. God is truly watching over her. So good to hear this story filled with love and for another!. Blessings on you and your dear family sweet friend xoxo

  9. My neighborhood is diverse, as was my workplace. It helped me see the world through other eyes and experiences, for which I am very grateful. Thanks so much for stopping by Butterupland and for your prayers.

  10. Oh my, Mary. I'm sitting here in tears. This Estonian woman and her family have truly given sacrificially...with joy, none the less. They didn't just babysit your grandchildren...they got down on their level and gave your grandchildren (and your daughter and son-in-law) the precious gift of their love. It makes me wonder how many times I've missed out on an opportunity to "love with Christ's love" make them feel special...all because I've not been looking.

    I think, also, my friend that your daughter is to be praised here as well because when the jackhammering was going on rather than complain or whine, she found ways to compensate by going out to the park, etc. That is truly a mark of a Christian loving with Christ's love.


  11. Thanks for taking the time to tell a good story - good and happy!

  12. Oh, my, I had this long comment written out, and our internet glitched! That is so frustrating!! Anyhow, I am so blessed by the kindness of your daughter's neighbor. Thank you so for sharing, sweet friend. Sending love and hugs your way!

  13. It is a blessing to have good neighbours and I hope I have been a good neighbour too. A very heart warming story. Have a beautiful day!

  14. Oh my mercy Mary! This made me tear up this morning. What a beautiful expression of love your neighbor as you do yourself. God bless the neighbors that reached out to your girl. My neighbors are my family mostly. Thank you for sharing dear friend. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  15. That's truly a place to call home. I'm a bit more inclined to have my neighbors keep their distance. We're friendly, but not overly engaging. But it used to be different... makes me think that it might just start with me...

    Good thoughts, Mary. Got me thinking... which is painful...


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Too Many Voices

Prayer and the Middle Child

My Choice for Women's Day