Remember when you were growing up, how there was that one house on the street that all the neighborhood kids gravitated to? Maybe the house had a pool, or a pool table, or a basketball hoop. Maybe the parents were more lenient than yours or the garage housed a fridge full of soda. Whatever the reason, the neighborhood house offered everything yours didn’t — and it was good.
When we moved into our little neighborhood seven years ago, my husband and I didn’t know the kid score. We weren’t sure whether our boys would have neighborhood kids to play with. We didn’t know if they’d make a best friend across the street or one day swoon over the girl next door. We thought the neighborhood would be a great place to raise our young family. Apparently, so did everybody else because there were kids — lots of kids. Babies were being born faster than middle schoolers were losing interest in playing outside. Strollers, scooters, and skateboards populated our sidewalks, chalk masterpieces decorated our collective driveways, and kids of all ages and cross streets gathered together to play games, have fun, and hurt themselves — all at our house. Gulp. [read more...]