Friday, June 29, 2007

The Neighborhood

I haven't blogged about the neighborhood lately, probably because there hasn't been much going on, but CHBM's carnival this week has the prompt, "My neighbors are...."

My neighbors are friends. With each other more than with us, but that's okay. They're also younger than us, mostly single, and mostly childless. We're not peers. Last year we neighbors spent much more time together, sitting on Jenn's patio until it was way past bedtime for a weeknight, drinking, chatting, and having a good time. We ran over to the neighborhood bar to play trivia (and never won, despite our best efforts).

This year something's different. Most of us have been in our houses about two years now, so the honeymoon is over. A couple of people have decided to move away, so we see "For Sale" signs cropping up. Circumstances have changed: last year's engaged couple has become this year's "gonna have a baby any day" couple.

My next door neighbors' house (well, yard, really) has changed a lot, too. A year ago, right after they had moved in, the back yard was unfenced. Grass barely grew there. The lot has an older oak tree that, sadly, was obviously damaged when the development was excavated, the slums torn down, and new houses built. The tree is half-dead.

These neighbors got married last summer. They were fresh-faced college graduates, newlyweds, and new home owners. When I say they're young, I'm saying this: the young woman next door is the same number of years older than my daughter as younger than me. They're young.

That being said, their back yard is coming around. The husband has diligently mowed and watered the grass. They built a fence (they have a big dog who needed space for running around), and just completed a deck. They're a nice couple.

Youth abounds in our neighborhood. At 36 and 38, we're the old people. We're not the only old people, but we're much older than most of our neighbors, who are primarily in their mid-to-late twenties. A few have passed thirty, but they are newlyweds and childless (or at least, for the next few of the couples' baby is due, um, tomorrow). So our lives are different. While Craig and I get to be spontaneous for a few weeks each year, most of our neighbors come and go with nothing to hold them back.

I sound more envious than I am. Because even though two of them just got back from a great trip to Colorado, just the girls, driving a Jeep all over the place, I know that my life is right for me. Married at 21, a mom at 26, I never lived the single life. I never traveled with girlfriends. But I had a different experience, the experience I wanted. I chose to marry young, to have kids young. And, honestly, no regrets.

There's a newish family at church who moved to Memphis from New York last fall. Our sons are the same age, and we adults have found that we enjoy each other's company. The woman works where I work, and we often eat lunch together and she sometimes stops by the house on her way home from work. I've been trying to convince them to buy a house in our neighborhood, mainly for selfish reasons. It would be nice to have some genuine peers whose lifestyle is similar to ours. It would be nice for my son to have a boy his age to play with. But they're already in a different house in a different area, and they don't want their son to have to change schools. And that's just it: if they were single, if they didn't have a child, they could just pick up and go. But the kids, they change everything. And it's nice to have people in my life who get that, even if they're not my neighbors.

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