Over the last 10 years, my husband and I have lived in eight different neighborhoods. Some were fancy, others modest; some were bustling, others quiet; some were friendly, others… not so much. But when the right neighborhood and, more importantly, the right neighbors came along, we stayed.
Here are 10 signs you, too, have found the Holy Grail of neighbors:
1. They make you feel special. Feeling sick? They’ll bring you soup. It’s your birthday? They’ll buy you flowers. Had a baby? They will take your tiny, hollering human off your hands while you rest for just a second or two… Zzzzzzz.
2. They’ve got your back. They see the creepiest guy evah loitering by your front door and alert you, the neighborhood and the local police before you’ve had a chance to tell them it’s actually your brother. Thanks for looking out!
3. They are your in-case-of-emergency people. When your kid gets the brilliant idea to cannonball off the roof into the pool and inevitably breaks his arm, they will be the first at the scene (since they probably witnessed the whole thing go down).
4. They double as babysitters. One kid is napping and the other needs to be picked up from school; your family is visiting and you totally forgot to buy booze; both of your kids are mid-conniption and you are late for a doctor’s appointment. Don’t fret. Your neighbor will be there faster than you can say, “Save meeeeeeee!”
5. They genuinely care about your kids. They buy magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper, coupon books and other nonsense odds and ends from your kids every single year.
6. They are your therapists. Having a tough day? They will totally meet you on your driveway with their portable loungers and a bottle of wine and let you unload your verbal diarrhea.
7. They help make your vacations possible. Whenever you go out of town, they take in your garbage cans, packages and newspapers. Heck, they’ll even dog-sit your curmudgeonly schnauzer if you ask them to.
8. Their kids occupy your kids. When you feel like a mombie (a.k.a. mom-zombie) and your offspring have successfully destroyed every surface of your home, their kids can be counted on to get yours outside into the sunshine and out of your hair.
9. They can be trusted. Oh man, you locked yourself out again? No worries. Your neighbor to the rescue. She’s taken possession of your spare house key, car key, mail key, and garage door opener because momnesia has taken over your life.
10. They are your family away from family. They will bend over backwards for you and your family, welcome you to their holiday celebrations, and loan you the shirts off their backs because, goshdarnit, they are your neighbors and that’s what neighbors do.
(This article originally appeared on Houston Moms Blog.)