Okay...it's not actually my car, but I do have a question. What do you do when everyday you find something new lying in your yard? Something that is not yours. Something that belongs to your neighbor. The latest culprit?This skateboard that I almost backed over while pulling out of the driveway this morning. Our neighbors have three kids who are older than mine. They love playing outside, and they subscribe to the old-school thought process of roam the neighborhood and knock on doors to see who might be home to play.
I love this about them. We've been hearing so much about the difference in children's play-style since we've all become helicopter parents and the safety of our world has gotten more questionable. It makes me happy to live in a neighborhood where, in spite of the fact that there are no sidewalks and multiple wild animals (i.e., bear, mountain lion, coyote) who could devour our children, these kids are still having endless hours of unsupervised adventure outside.
Every day I wonder if when my kids are old enough to play on their own outside, I'll be brave enough and smart enough to give them a long enough "leash." I'm a pretty protective parent and come from VERY protective parents, so it's going to take a whole lot of self-talk to prevent me from building a cage that my kids can play in outside - protecting them from the dangers of our mountainous neighborhood, protecting me from the dangers of seeing my children hurt. Come to think of it, maybe a cage isn't a bad idea. Even now, my boys are constantly fighting with each other. We'll throw them in there and charge admission. It'll be like Ultimate Fighting Evergreen style. They always say that white trash moves to the mountains. So, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Ultimate Cage Fighting it is!
But, I digress. Along with spreading their love around the neighborhood, these kids spread their toys all around the neighborhood - at least my portion of the neighborhood. If I collected everything that I've found lying in my yard, my boys would be pretty happy in a few years. They would have soccer balls, dirt bikes, shovels, bows and arrows, army men, bungee cords...and a skateboard! And a little plastic ring in the shape of a pink heart. Not sure which one of the boys was wearing that one when it was plopped in our yard.
These items mysteriously appear. I never see the kids playing in our yard with said toys. The toys just make their way into our driveway or grass on their own. So, I've been watching. I think I've determined the problem. The neighbor kids stand at the bottom of their driveway waiting for the school bus every morning. Their driveway is directly across the street from the top of our driveway. The school bus door opens on our side of the street. The kids must hold on to their beloved items until the last possible minute and then toss them (into my driveway) before they step onto the school bus.
Here's my dilemma. I don't really care all that much, but I feel like I should care. I grew up in a perfectly manicured house with a perfectly manicured lawn, and I guarantee that if my neighbor had left his skateboard in our driveway, it would only have happened ONCE. But I feel like I should do something.
Sometimes I ignore it, and the toys mysteriously make their way out of my yard in a few days. Sometimes I place all of the items in a nice tidy pile at the bottom of their driveway. Sometimes I almost crush the skateboards with the wheels of my car. Regardless of the action that I take, nothing is ever said about the toys by me, the neighbor kids or their parents. It's like this silent game we have going to see who can not talk about it the longest.
As my kids get older and I'm constantly stressing picking up after yourself and caring for your things, I feel like I should be setting an example for my kids by setting our neighbor kids straight. Am I making too much of this? Or should I just hide everything in my garage and be happpy that I don't have to buy my son his own skateboard?