You may remember by Neighborhood Rant post in June and my Letter to Someone Who Recently Hurt You from last week. In both of these instances I was complaining about a group of children who were misbehaving in our townhouse complex. These children are unruly. They have taken over the complex because the caring adults have no recourse. There is no law that prevents the children from throwing rocks and dirt clots at houses, apparently. The police officers we have talked to said they cannot force parents to do their jobs.
Friday night was a breaking point for us. We have asked the parents of the creepy children to keep their children from playing right outside the front of our unit because it is the only place we allow our children to play. Since the other kids have plenty of place to play because they have full run of the rest of the complex, my husband and I thought this was a fair compromise. To give you perspective, the perimeter of the complex is half mile. I know this because we measured it for running. This is a HUGE area. Giving our children a small portion of it for play is not asking a whole lot.
On this occasion, my girls were outside running through the sprinklers when the others came over and started to take over. Our rule has been, in the past, that if these children come out our girls are to come inside. This day, however, my husband said to just ignore them because my girls have started to become trapped in the house since these kids roam the complex all hours of the day and night. I should have known that wasn't going to go over well. The jerk kids starting calling ours names. They started calling the neighbor kids names. These names are not nice, and some of them could make a sailor blush. From the mouths of nine-year-olds! I finally stepped in and told the one girl to get away from my daughter.
To make a very long story short, Daniel and the other father exchanged words. Once again, we felt backed into a corner. There is nothing anyone could do to help us with this situation, and we were becoming more and more fed up with letting these kids walk all over us and determine how we would live our lives. Well, I have to say that my incredible family has saved us.
Flashback to a couple of months ago when I was REALLY sick and not knowing if I was ever going to get better. My mom and dad, who live a couple miles away, offered for us to move in so they could help with the girls, the housework, and general life. At the time we declined. I refused to admit I was sick enough to require that level of assistance, and the idea of moving in with my parents was defeating. I can now tell you that my attitude changed very quickly when I finally saw how disgusting, scary, and unsafe our townhouse complex had become. Once it was not about me but was about my husband's happiness and my children's safety, I quickly overcame my hesitancy and frankly embarrassment to say I lived with my parents. After the incident Friday night it was ME who picked up the phone and asked my mom if the offer to move in was still open. Of course it was, and like I said, minutes later we were packing the most essential of our belongs and heading out the door.
In many ways the neighbors and their children won. They pushed us out of the home that I used to enjoy and feel peaceful in. I'm SO glad we are gone, though. It's okay if they won. We are moving on to better things. It has been extremely hectic and at times frustrating, mostly because I started my new job on Monday and have been focused on that. Moving and setting up a classroom all in the same week is a little exhausting. But, my children are safe. They will actually be going to a school that is WAY better than the one in the old neighborhood. The girls have friends who they had met when we would come here to visit, so that's nice. These new friends dont' throw rocks at the house, call adults nasty names when we step out of the house, or vandalize our cars while we are sleeping. I never realized how stressful those things were until we DON'T have to worry about them. It's nice to pull into the driveway and feel safe and secure. The best part is that Daniel is no longer up pacing at night, checking the door locks several times. Next time we live somewhere that has a police helicopter up above at 8 PM every Friday night, I may get the hint that we aren't living in the nicest part of town.
I don't know where we will go from here. For now I am working on getting settled in, and we'll figure out the plan later. The girls will be starting school in a couple of weeks, and I start teaching on this coming Monday. That's enough to focus on for now. We're still stopping at the townhouse daily to get things we have discovered a need for, and when we have time we are working on packing up the rest for storage. We'll figure all that out eventually, too. Does anyone know anyone who wants to rent or buy a townhouse? No, I'm kidding. I could never put someone I know of in there. I already told Daniel it's going to be very hard to let someone move in without a strict warning of what they are going to get themselves into. If we do sell the townhouse I'll have to just stay FAR away from that deal.
So, for now the adults are sharing the cooking and the cleaning in what I think is a beautiful, comfortable house. The girls are busy being kids and go outside to play without a care in the world, just the way it should be. I can go to work knowing that my children are in a loving environment that will encourage their growth as successful humans rather than learning how to join a gang at age 12. I thank my mom and dad for all of this. I guess it really is true that your children never stop being your children. Thank goodness I have such great role models.