Dear neighbors who hate me and my wild monkey spawn;

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Artist depiction of said neighbor.

Dear neighbor,

I’m sorry that we got off to a bad start. Despite my best efforts to be in the good graces of all who reside in this beautiful slice of what would otherwise be considered hillbilly town, my children’s bus stop being at your corner home and your seemingly low tolerance for anything under four feet tall has doomed us from the get go.

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Exhibit A: Bus Stop

I’m sorry that, here in the mountains and suffering a drought as we are, my children find your unnaturally green, velvety lawn irresistible and wander onto it when my back is turned. Believe me when I say that I can only threaten them with bodily harm so many times before someone calls the authorities.

I can’t attempt administering said bodily harm, people tend to throw around phrases like “child endangerment” and “abuse.” My hands are tied.

I’m sorry that on the day you happened to notice that your manicured sections of black and white rocks were being mixed by squirrels, cats, birds, neighborhood dogs, small wind gusts, or unruly landscapers who don’t get paid enough, my oldest daughter happened to be meandering through the outermost layer. As it resides next to the road and cradles your engineered storm drain, my careful child found the rebellious walk through your rocks, which were a mere five feet from the road, a thrill.

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Exhibit B: Tiny, hand placed rocks. 

As you shook your head in anger and scolded us all, I’m sure you thought me an irresponsible parent – the very problem with this society today. And since I have learned that you spend inordinate amounts of time grooming your water intense lawn or visually interesting pebbles, I can understand that you were peeved with me for turning my attention away from my most responsible child for a mere 45 seconds to tend my wild kindergartner or (then) infant son. Believe me when I say that the two if them require a fair amount of energy from me. One might even say they’re more labor intensive than a manicured yard, if you can believe such a thing.

Perhaps I should consider leashes or shock collars for all three of them.

You’ve had children, right, neighbor? We’re all moms here, I thought for sure that you would understand my struggles. Underneath your severely cut gray hair and wrinkles, you and I are the same, aren’t we?

It was in this spirit (and mostly so that you didn’t think I was a deadbeat mom) that I chose to have each of my children write you an apology letter about the rocks and lawn that they barely touch. I even gave you my contact information so that we could communicate and come to an understanding.

I have received no phone call, but obvious snubs and looks of loathing from you when I attempt to be friendly and wave.

Perhaps my hair was messy.

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I understand I can be quite off putting when my toddler has had his way with my head and I need to leave the house like five minutes ago so the bus driver doesn’t drive off with my children and cost me a trip out to their school that I was hoping to avoid by having them ride the bus in the first place. I would then have forgo starting dinner at four in order to retrieve my children from their school, thus putting a considerable dent in my plan to have dinner on the table by five so that everyone can be fed, given dessert, have homework checked, showered, stories read, teeth brushed, and house picked up before seven.

I realize that these struggles pale in comparison to landscape maintenance.

I’m also sorry that your large, immovable stones bordering the road are the only harmless source of fun for my busy children. They want more than anything in the world to spend their long waits at the bus stop frolicking through your lush lawn, but I have spent the lions share in energy keeping them off of it. After I leave your corner of the road every morning I want to drink.

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Exhibit C: Temptation

I figure, since your large stones are both impossible to move and right on the road, that they were free from the “we will not mess up your rocks” letters my kids wrote. That and if I have to pick between them playing tag loudly up and down the road at 7:30am while I struggle violently to keep my toddler off your radioactively green lawn (puppy tugging me along), or letting them quietly pretend to be mermaids sunning themselves on your large roadside rocks, I will let them sun themselves and flap their tails luxuriously as long as they want, even if you’re glaring at me out of your kitchen window.

As I said, they can be noisy and will probably wake the neighborhood. Thanks for understanding on that one, I spend approximately 189% of my time with them fighting the uphill battle of teaching them respect, courtesy, and responsibility and I relish any tiny moment where they are being well behaved and content. To put it bluntly: your roadside rocks are a breath of fresh air. I fear an entire neighborhood wielding pitchforks, coffee, and parenting books more than I fear your scowl over this.

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Exhibit D: Bad Parenting

So once again, dear neighbor, I am sorry that we’ve gotten off to a bad start. I hope that, in the interest of neighborliness, you will forgive my poor parenting and forgo scowling at me out your kitchen window. In the very least, I do hope that you won’t call animal control on my children, because I’m sure you’re not the only person in the neighborhood who wishes to do so.

My sincerest apologies for inconveniencing you with my reproductive choices,

-That Horrible Mother

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