To Sherise and Nicole in my neighborhood of Sawmill Forrest:
My son is a social butterfly. It’s my fault, really. When he was 3 months old, I went to work at the tennis club that my dad teaches at. I brought him with me every morning until noon when my shift was over. He was constantly bombarded with people going in and out. And they hung on his every coo! They saw every milestone he had and there wasn’t a day he didn’t want to be there. He loves being around people and chatting it up. He is the center of attention!
My son is equally independent. Always has been. He is so bull headed and stubborn that once he gets something in his mind to accomplish, he shuts out the rest of the world. That includes his parents telling him not to do something. It is frustrating to us. We have tried every punishment to get him to stop and listen. I have researched new tactics on how to deal with strong-willed boys, but nothing works consistently.
Imagine his luck when we moved into a new neighborhood with next door neighbors who reminded him of his grandparents that he misses. They play with him, give him bananas to eat, and shower him with every attention a three year old needs! Is it any wonder that he runs to their house to hang out because they’ve never put up any walls to keep him out. When Riley is out back playing and he hears them, he goes running to say hello. He doesn’t run into the road, nor does he take off through the rest of the neighborhood. Just a beeline to their front door.
Nicole, you moved into the house on the other side of us and Riley was so happy to have some kids around his age to play with. When your kids play in your backyard, he likes to run and meet them every chance he gets. He is filled with joy and excitement to say hello and play! Of course they haven’t played together yet because I believe Riley needs to be invited over first. I understand if you didn’t appreciate him running into your yard, but our houses are steps apart from each other with no dividing fence and he’s only three years old. Cut him some slack.
Sherise and Nicole, now that you know a little background of my family but yet haven’t spent any time with us to really get to know us, I’d like to give you some words of advice. Do not talk about people behind their backs. Do not confront people based on what others have told you. Do not continue thinking those people you talked about will be cordial towards you.
My husband did not deserve to be accosted with your hurtful words, Sherise, just as he was coming home from work. He did not fully understand why you told him he is a bad parent until he talked to our neighbor friends the next day. Please do not take an innocent situation of my son visiting next door and turn it into an epidemic of unsupervised parenting. I am the one that has 100% responsibility of our son during the day. You are well aware of this after the one day you decided to tell me your life story, barely showing any interest in mine. If you have issues with the way I parent then you can come talk to me, only. You know where I live.
I know that you talked with our new neighbor (Nicole, the one with the kids) because she promptly went to our neighbor friend with your shared conversation. Did you think it wouldn’t get back to me? We live in a small community. How many other people are sneering at me when I walk by? Again, I ask you to come speak with me, face to face, to relieve any false information you might have been told. I need to know that you won’t call the authorities if you think I’ve made one mistake with my son. I am now looking over my shoulder when we take our dog out for a walk, play in our backyard, or head down to the community pool/playground area. No one wants to feel on edge. However, I could counter the authorities with what you told me about your delinquent teenage son.
Nicole, I don’t care if you ignore me but somehow it stings even more when you tell your kids to ignore mine. My son does not deserve your viciousness when he is not harming you in any way. Next time we are at the community pool/playground at the same time, don’t loudly announce to your friends that you are a good mom and no one should ever judge you. That makes you look like a hypocrite since you had no qualms judging me. It also makes you look like trash when you talk about the different men you would like to write in as the father of your children on their birth certificates. Just pointing that out. Oh and one more thing. Please remember that you have a loud, grating voice that when you’re outside, carries through my cheap skylights in both my kitchen and master bathroom. I’m not so sure you want me to hear half the things you say or what you scream at your poor kids.
Lastly, Sherise, do you really think I want to be friends with you? You’ve always ignored me when it’s just me outside when you walk past. But if Riley is with me, you want to say hi to me and be real sweet to him. If my husband is out with Riley, you tell your neighbors how great of a kid he is and you send your best along to me. I don’t understand you. I think I’ll just stay away from you. Although I hate hoping you won’t be outside when we round the corner.
We will keep living our lives the way we want. We will keep raising our son in the way he should go. I feel sorry for the both of you without hobbies to keep you busy from gossip. Maybe your actions towards us hide some deep insecurities about your own lives. I will pray for you, I will stay away from you, but beware that I am a Momma Bear that will always defend her family.