Neighborhood 101

by Beth Anne on May 19, 2013

IMG 1221 1024x768 Neighborhood 101I grew up in a suburban neighborhood where we spent long years on swim team & rode the bus with the same kids for well over a decade. We played cards in the club house when summer thunderstorms rolled through & in the evenings, we’d round up teams to play capture the flag in the woods & creek that wrapped between & around our houses. We dared each other to jump the fence to Peabody’s land where he lived with his 12 Dobermans, then ran like hell home where our moms would call the other to laugh over our stories. The other kids that I grew up with became my playmates & friends & enemies for the first 18 years of my life. Some of my favorite memories are wrapped up in the little world that surrounded my house.

When we started looking for houses last year, Doug & I had very distinctly different tastes – he wanted land & lots of it while I wanted neighbors & lots of ‘em. In the end, I won with a promise that when we retire, we’ll own rolling hills & a house without an HOA governing the colors of mailboxes. We fell in love with our Money Pit & the trampolines & swingsets behind the other houses only made me want it more.

The first time I watched Harrison run through the cul-de-sac with the girls two doors down, I thought my heart would explode. This was exactly what I hoped for.

One night when it was gorgeous, Doug & I sat on the front steps while Harrison played trucks on the ground. It was perfect. Harry looked up & said, “Can those girls play with me?” & I looked over to their house, which seemed shut tight.

I stood up & brushed the pollen off my pants & held out my hand. “Okay, buddy. I’m going to teach you Neighborhood 101.” Together we walked barefoot up the driveway & paused at their front door. I kneeled down & told him that he needs to push the doorbell & when their momma answers to ask, “Can M & Acome out to play?” He nodded & repeated me several times until I gave him a wink & a pat on the rump.

He rang the doorbell & looked back at me uncertainly. “Remember,” I coached. “Can M & A come out to play?” He nodded again. Yep, Momma. I got this.

The door swung open. Harry froze. Their momma waited patiently & I whispered, “Don’t you have something to ask?”

Harrison squared his shoulders, took a step forward & boomed, “CAN I COME IN YOUR HOUSE?”

& then I died.

The end.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn May 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hahahaha, that is adorable! But what ended up happening? Did the girls come out to play? Did the other mom think it was just as funny? Did you make a new friend, too? :)


Robyn May 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Even if you didn’t get the results you had expected, I think it’s wonderful that you are teaching your son to speak for himself. Too many parents these days are willing to be the voice for their children, and as a result we are creating a generation of kids who are never taught independence and confidence. Instead, they instinctively turn to their parents to “save” them. Hurrah for you!


Jackie May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Totally agree with your view of neighborhood over lots of land! We just moved to a neighborhood with bunches of kids running around and our son loves it. He’s had to have a little neighborhood 101 too! But instead of asking to go in to their houses, he has been obsessed with the eight-year old neighbor!


Casey May 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I literally laughed out loud!! So, what ended up happening?


Antonia R. May 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Oh, Hibby! So straight forward ;)


Laura June May 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

When we moved into our current house we wanted both: SPACE but also a neighborhood so our kid’s weren’t isolated. We couldn’t have gotten a better spot. We have almost an acre and gaggles of same age kids running around. It’s like freakin’ eden. It’s so worth compromising when you see the kid’s together and think “they may spend the next 10+ years together as best friends”.


Salena May 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

I just died laughing. Makes me a little sad our neighborhood seems to be mostly older kids (like teenagers!) no youngins for mine to play with. Some day….


Jennie May 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Don’t worry teenagers are great neighbors too. Babysitters!!! And sometimes when we are outside after school our teenage neighbors will come over and play with the little kids for a bit. It is the best surprise whenever it happens.


Jessica May 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

I laughed so hard at this!

Please tell us, did his little friends come out to play?


Dawn May 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

This made my morning! I laughed so hard!


Arnebya May 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

Leave it to your boy’s cuteness to wrench me out of a nasty mood.

I crave this for my kids, really I do. But we have ZERO other kids in our immediate neighborhood. A few blocks down and over, yeah, there are some. We’re gonna find them this year. Last year at the pool my girls were questioned repeatedly about where they lived, where they’d come from because none of the kids on that side of the neighborhood knew them.


Camille M May 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

This is precisely why I love you BA. You get me all nostalgic thinking about my same childhood memories with the kids I grew up with… and then Boom. I’m inappropriately laughing much too loud from my cube in my way too quiet office. Bless his little heart.


Carole (SurfMomma) May 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I love it! That’s better than pulling up to the new neighbors house in your power wheels gator and asking the new girls on the block, “would you like a ride with me ladies?” Yes, that came from my three year old, yes, I died.

They are so funny at three! Hope you are feeling better.


Megan B May 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Love it. Also – where you grew up sounds amaaaazing. I lean the toward Doug Camp as far as the wide open spaces kind of thing, but man – that neighborhood sounds pretty fantastic.


Suzanne May 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm



Lisa June 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm

HA HA! This is such a great post. Love it!


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