June 03, 2010

To Neighbor or Not To Neighbor

My husband and I have been together for nearly 8 years (lived together for 7.5 years... yeah... don't judge). The first house we moved into together was in an older, more established neighborhood. We made some minor attempts at getting to know a couple of our neighbors, but we discovered their teenagers were actually closer to our age then they were. Let's just say, we didn't really fit in. Sure, we had some polite conversations with people but we never really felt like a part of anything.

We have now been in our our new neighborhood for 21 months- it will always be easy to remember exactly when we moved into our beautiful new house because we moved the day after Jack was born. Being in a new development, we have many lots between neighbors but already, we feel like we have found a good place. Two of our neighbors (one of which is a MN Viking) have kids nearly the same age as our son. It is already nice to be amongst people who GET it.

But, how neighborly do we want to get? Do we get all Wisteria Lane and up in each others business? Sometimes I'm not sure if I want my neighbors to know EVERYthing about me. We were recently invited over to the home of one of our nearby neighbors. They definitely own one of the prettier homes on the block and dare I say it, they are a bit intimidating. I was nervous to go there. I don't know why, I just was. Their house was a virtual museum. How they keep a home that perfect with a 7 and 5 year old, I have no idea. Their kids played with our novelty 2 year old for awhile but quickly got bored with trying to entertain this little person who doesn't quite speak as many words as them yet. In our nerves, we let the wine flow. While they were perfectly nice and polite people, they weren't the most engaging conversationalists we had ever met in our lives either and found ourselves being the major contributors to the conversation. Then the subject of religion came up... and it dawned on us that these people hardly ever utter the f-word and definitely never say god or hell in their regular speech. Being a self-confessed potty mouth, this immediately made me feel suddenly like I was less of a person. Then something strange transpired- they started giving each other the "look". I immediately gathered up my husband who had imbibed a little too much and my son and thanked them for a lovely evening thinking that we had way overstayed our welcome. I was totally uncomfortable with how the evening went. I felt like they were looking down their noses a bit at us and trying to figure out why. We make plenty of money, have a pretty house and drive nice cars. It's not like we have the trailer across the street or anything, so why do I feel this way? I would love to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the night was truly awkward and I find myself wondering if we should really bother to get to know them much further. We offered the obligatory "Next time, we'll have a barbecue at our house," invitation but I don't know if we'll really follow through with it.

So, I ask the question- how close should you be to your neighbors? I would like to be close to those with kids Jack's age. It makes the most sense. Jack loves the little girl across the street (and vice versa) so we find ourselves often walking across the street to let the kids play with each other. These are cool people though. They sit out front with their beers, watching the kids play, throwing a ball out to the dog. They are quite a bit younger than we are, but at least they don't look down on us. At this point in my life, I'm not sure I need more friends, but I would like my son to have many.

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