FILED IN: Parenting

Would You Be, Could You Be, My Neighbor?

We live on a very busy street, used by commuters as a through-way between the train station and county road, so my husband Garth [not his real name] and I have always tried to remain vigilant about keeping the kids safely secluded in our very own big backyard.

“Can So-and-So come over?”

Did I mention, we’ve got a pool?

“No, it’s MY turn to have someone over!”


“Mooooooom, there’s someone at the door!”

Of course, seeing as we’ve talked to each and every one of them, time and time again, about the danger of strangers, showing up at our door, all 4 of my kids came running from every direction to, you know, see who it was.

"It’s our neighbor!"


"Which one?"

We’ve lived in this house for almost 16 years and, sadly, I’m on speaking terms with only one of the families also living on our street — my next door neighbor.

"It’s the one you like!"

Oh, thank goodness.

"I got some of your mail, by mistake."

So, I invited her in, we spent the next few minutes catching up (has it really been THAT long) and parted on good terms.

"Maybe we can get-together; especially, if Mr. Screw Up keeps delivering each other’s mail."

It’s not that we don’t like each other – I pretty much get along with most everybody, mostly – but,  she’s only got the 1 kid and I’m pretty sure that she thinks I’m nucking futz, anyway.

But, she likes my kids… I think.

The neighbor on the other side of the fence (you know, the one I don’t like) on the other hand, hates my kids and has yelled at them, for being too loud… playing outside… or, splashing around in our pool… on numerous occasions!

"Keep it down, over there!"

No, he doesn’t have any children (not that I know of, anyways) how’d you guess?

“Damn kids.”

Really? According to my other neighbor (you know, the one I like and sort of likes me) you wouldn’t even know that there are 4 kids, living in our 7 room house.

“Your kids are just way too polite.”


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeighbor!”

Apparently, I’m raising a bunch of criminals – always saying hello to the neighbors and everything – who are constantly caught behaving badly, like:

The Boy (Turning 11, at the end of this month) Crime:  Shooting hoops, playing fetch with the dog, laughing way too much and hollering stuff like, "Good mornin’, Mr. Neighbor," and then, "Have a nice day," when ignored by Mr. Neighbor.

The Youngest (Age, 8) Crime:  Playing on the swing set, working in the garden with her mother, digging for worms, pretends that fairies live in the woods behind our house and being too gosh-darned cute for her own good!

The Middle Girl (Age, 14) Crime:  Riding her scooter to the milk store, swimming when it’s hot outside, taking long walks with her camera, writes her own songs and reads way too many books!

The Oldest (Age 15 years-old) Crime:  Watching old movies on Turner Classics and film noir.  Doesn’t like the outdoors, much.  But, when she does venture out, is often found fussing over a project in her sketch book and generally enjoys the company of her siblings.

Then there’s, you know, their mother:

Me (Age, none of your business) Crime:  Matriarch of This Full House.  Skips showers, forgets to brush her teeth, goes in (and out) of her driveway at least a dozen times a day, picking her kids up from school, especially, on stormy days, leaves Christmas decorations up until Valentine’s Day and (allegedly) breeder of some of the worst kids in the neighborhood!

“Hey, um, hi, how’s it going?”

[sound of crickets chirping]

Although, we may NOT be the most perfect family (or, best neighbors) I can’t help but think that, just because we have lots of kids, running around and inviting lots of other kids to come over and play, or splash in our pool (during daylight hours, mind you) do we really deserve to be run out by the Neighborhood Homeowners’ Association with torches and pitchforks?

[repeat, sound of crickets chirping]


So, this year, I’ve decided to be the bigger neighbor (figuratively speaking, of course) by being the first one to say:

“Hey you kids…get off of my lawn!!!”

Even though, you know, they never seem to listen to me, either.