We are incredibly blessed. We live in a small, rural neighborhood where we are surrounded by family and friends. It is the kind of place where people honk the horn and wave if they see us outside when they drive by and where impromptu barbecues happen relatively often in the summertime.
You gotta' take the bad with the good in a community like this. The bad: unless you're a hermit - and sometimes even if you are - people are going to know at least some of your business. The good: because people know what's going on in your life, they often step in and offer help, an invitation to dinner, a fresh perspective, kudos and encouragement, or sometimes just a listening ear. This is the kind of stuff that is important to any family who has one spouse/parent who travels, be it for the military or on the pipeline or in some other occupation. We need the motherly figure down the street (or mom herself) to say "you're doing a great job, kiddo" when she sees us out and about. We need the buddy with an extra beer in the fridge and an open invitation to visit. We need the aunts and cousins who never turn down the opportunity to watch the kids so we can go for a girls' night out. We need that trusty neighbor who knows everything there is to know about cars. And washing machines. And furnaces.
We - those of us who keep the home fires burning - create for ourselves a support system that helps us deal with broken toilets and empty cupboards and injured pets without mama falling into a heap and sobbing. Fortunately for my family, the support system was already here when we moved into the neighborhood and has just grown stronger over the years. That's partly because this is where Steve grew up, and partly, I think, because that's just part of life in the country. We help one another, we look out for the folks around us, we offer what we can to make life a little easier. If it weren't for all of that, I don't know if I would stay very sane if I had to handle everything alone while the love of my life is away from home for extended periods of time.
On the other hand, perhaps a touch of insanity is what got us here in the first place.
Ah well. Life is good.