As an adult, I always thought it would be neat to be a neighborhood mom. A place where my sons' friends would feel welcome, a place they might enjoy congregating, a place where they could feel safe. So far, after fast forwarding a few years, I've not been disappointed.
When we lived in apartments, we occasionally had T12's friends come over and play, and those friends would play w/ J7, too, including him in their games even though he was very young at the time. Those were very sweet kids. :) I always liked having a reason to have treats for them, even though we were basically broke during those days.
We moved into a neighborhood completely unfamiliar with us, and it took a little while, but gradually T12 made friends with classmates who lived right around us (one across the street from us, AND he has a little brother J7's age!), and occasionally they'll pop by to visit. Now that J7 has been in school almost 2 years now (the first year we were here was very tough :( ), he's getting his OWN friends to come over and play! Plus, last year, a new family w/ a little boy about J7's age moved across the street, giving us an isosceles triangle effect, lol! They're ALL basically having a great time, and it's a joy to be a part of their lives.
We now have a "neighborhood phone list" hanging on my cabinet door, complete with friends' parents phone numbers. We're all just a phone call away. :) Kinda feel a little like June Cleaver, but without the domestic goddess part...don't know how I'd deal with an Eddy Haskell, anyway, lol. :}
What is funny is when all these friends migrate from house to house w/i the neighborhood, and it's like we parents have walkie-talkies keeping up with them all. Love it! :) We've only had one incident in which T12 and his friend "forgot" to tell us where they were going, and when I called friend's mom to alert her about our boys, the hunt was ON! By the time they wandered back over to my house 45 mins later, those two boys got "The Lecture" about wandering off w/o notifying me (or whoever's mom they were visiting) where they intended to go. All is good now! :)
Gone are the days in which children could just wander off, doing whatever spontaneous ideas that crossed their minds...the good as well as the not-so-good ideas (lol)...just so they show up at supper time. Times are becoming weirder and weirder by the hour. We live in an age of virtually instant information, which can be great and not so great at the same time. We live in an age in which safety means diligently being accountable for our whereabouts. As my momma always said, "I don't care what you're doing...I may not even like or approve what you're doing...but I gotta know where my family is!" Daddy was quite an unwitting teacher for that lesson! Yikes! :O As an adult, NOW I know what she means. Yeah, I showed up at her house totally sauced one morning (yes, someone dropped me off at "home"~~while inebriated, her house directions was a lot easier to explain than to my own, lol), but she knew I where I was the night before. She was just happy I was safe, although dissapointed in the condition I was in, and knowing that in 4 hours I needed to show up for work in MUCH better shape! I hope that if a neighbor kid didn't feel comfortable talking to their parents about serious issues, I wouldn't mind helping as I can. Somehow its easier to talk with someone more objective than your parents. Children today have it TOUGH. I'm not talking about the generational differences in technology and materialism~~that's a WHOLE new post! >:D What I'm talking about is that it seems like parents today are soooooo caught up in trying to survive in this life, or so caught up in their careers or addictions of their lives, that they've lost sight of truly caring for these children. I see a growing trend in SAHMs and WAHMs, but right now, it's not enough to bring these children back home to safety. I realize that I'm not always going to be the desirable safety net for my boys, but I pray that they have SOMEONE of my friends (most of them their friends' moms/parents) who they'll feel they can trust. I pray that they'll always have friends whose parents I could trust to let them lean on w/o judging them as quickly as a subjective parent might or would.
I pray that my boys continue to pick good friends, and to continue to be wary of not-so-good people. So far I like being a neighborhood mom. Then again, I've not hit the true teen years yet! Maybe another mom will temporary adopt him/them if mine go out of my league of momma patience and understanding? I did not grow up with male influence in my life. As my momma always said..."boys are suuuuuuure different.... Maybe another's handful would click with me better, being the more objective party? I don't know. We've all got pretty green grass right now, so I don't think it's gonna be a case of the grass is always greener on the other side. :}