gratitude-a-thon day 31: my neighborhood

We’re just 20 minutes on the T from Boston.

My neighborhood is kind of great. I live on a one way street, and everybody is actually nice. Kids play in the road. We have block parties in the summer. There is a fabulous park a block and a half away that has concerts every Wednesday night when it’s warm, and a sprinkler and playground, where mom’s bring their kids to play, and connect with each other to save themselves from forgetting how to speak (my kids WERE LITERALLY RAISED AT EMERSON PARK.

This is where my kids grew up. And so did all the rest of the neighborhood kids, too. Now, it’s where I walk my dog!

We went there day and night. We had lunches, picnics. We even spent the shell-shocked night of 911 there with our good friends, pizza and a lot of wine, while our kids ran around untouched by the new world.) We borrow ketchup and eggs, and pancake mix from each other. We walk to our schools, because we’re just a few blocks away from our grammar school, a few blocks away from the high school. We live near our quirky little town center called Brookline Village, where my one of favorite restaurants in the world is located–

That’s Sam, THE BEST BARTENDER ON THE PLANET. go ahead, see if you don’t think so.

Pomodoro, (AND MY FAVORITE BARTENDER IN THE WORLD IS, SAM.) And where you can find my fantastic personal trainer (who has saved my back, and my life), Colleen Quinn at Eutopia, and the cool little pub,  Matt Murphy’s, and the incredible sandwich shop Cutty’s and

You gotta get the eggplant sandwich. NO, REALLY, YOU GOTTA.

the super awesome cafe KooKoo, owned by the equally super awesome Elie and Ali (who also own the fabulous Innerspace Yoga Studio, and apparently NEVER SLEEP). And there’s all sorts of other  stuff in the Village too, like the post office and the T, and Starbuck’s, to name a few. And we all live close to one another, so there’s a lot of respecting one another’s privacy, but basically it’s a bunch of good people, and I think we sort of all know that we have a pretty great thing going on.

Happy big five ooooooooooooh, Martha!

The other night I went to a birthday party for one of the neighborhood legends . It was her 50th and a lot of the hood was there. It was kind of an astounding thing to think of all the time I’ve known Martha. Because in that time, we have witnessed our kids go from babies to teenagers. I met her when she was walking her twin boys in their stroller, all smiley, cheerful new mom, and I was walking my daughter, all cranky, my-baby-never-stops-crying, semi-psychotic basket case MOTHER WHO CLEARLY SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO PROCREATE. In that first encounter, when we exchanged pleasantries, as you do when you see someone who has a baby around the same age as yours,  I told her how difficult my daughter was because she cried all the time and she didn’t sleep through the night AND NEITHER DID I. I was immediately thinking, THIS IS A MOTHER OF TWINS, SHE WILL GET MY MISERY LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS. But it was not to be. Big smile on her sunny face, “They’re really good, and they sleep quite well, ” she said, of her twins, in some sort of words, which I can not exactly recall, BECAUSE I WAS ABOUT TO GET MY OWN WING AT MCLEAN’S, plus I was trying to hold back my arm from hitting her across the face with my hand BECAUSE SHE WAS CHEERFUL AND WELL RESTED, in the face of MY TOTAL AND COMPLETE EXHAUSTION AND PROJECTED FEAR THAT MY BABY WOULD CRY FOR THE REST OF TIME. Anyway, I didn’t know it then, but now that I’ve  known Martha for 14 years, i can tell you that  she’s just that kind of person. Perhaps that’s how they make ’em in Canada, which is where she grew up. You can pretty much throw anything her way, and she will spin it into gold. And the thing about her is, that it’s GENUINE. She is totally genuine, real deal, no artifice. She believes in everyone’s best. She thinks everything is possible. And she will help you to make whatever you’re thinking, happen. She’s a connector of people and a nurturer of ideas. She’s a cheerleader and a true believer. She will show up for you. She’s the person you’d like to be when you’re at your best, but rarely are. (I’m sorry, I’ll speak for myself, here.) She will bake you a cake if you’re sick. She will whip up a cute little gift for your birthday and leave it on your porch, when you least expect it. She will write you an inspiring email to thank you for doing something at school. This is a really, really, unusually kind person. The kind of kind person we would all be lucky to know. And she’s part of what makes my neighborhood so great. Happy 50th, Martha. Canada’s loss. Our gain.

5 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 31: my neighborhood

  1. What an awesome tribute to a fantastic neighborhood and one of the most amazing people I know. I am truly grateful to have been part of the Brookline Village community. I don’t know that there is anything quite like it. Met SOOO many of my best mom friends at Emerson Park. Miss you guys TERRIBLY!

    Now I need to mop the huge puddle off the floor.

  2. Knock Knock you’re not home. I’m here to deliver a tearful grateful hug . Toni you are nothing short of incredible and ever so thoughtful. Your entire blog is so beautiful and it really just scrapes the surface of who you are in the world. On your porch I stand with my heart full of joy and gratitude for the dear sweet thoughtful friend in you. Thank you so much Toni . Martha xo

  3. I love your blog toni, and how generous you are with your compliments and how spot-on you are with your cheeky observations and most of all i have to agree with everything you’ve said about our One-of-a-Kind Martha, who is literally the Heart of the Neighborhood!! We are indeed blessed to have her here in our midst… but I must also say that your involvement with the schools and community are truly extraordinary as well! I have so many images of you in my mind creating auction baskets, and orchestrating the kids in pierce plays, and rolling out the Red Carpet and lifesized Gold Oscars for our kids’ graduation-you deserve one of your very own!! Keep your blog rollin’!

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