Sunday, August 26, 2007

my amazing neighbor

There is nothing like a good neighbor. Our next door neighbor, let's call her Ms. J (yes, I know, another J in my life . . .), is quite possibly the best neighbor anyone could ask for. She babysits little j for free, she watches the house and the pets when we are on vacation, and she is just generally generous and helpful. Not to mention the fact that I consider her an older sister. She is just that kind of person that I have an immediate rapport with.

Ms. J is divorced with two children. Her son is starting his junior year of college (away), her daughter is starting her first semester at college (locally -- and thus living at home). Big J and I really like her kids as well. However, last night something happened that made me feel like the thirty-something adult, and I emphasize the word adult, that I am.

Ms. J is out of town at her high school reunion so her daughter has the run of the house. Now generally she is fairly quiet, although Ms. J did tell me that said daughter is going through a major party phase this summer. So at 2:30 a.m. cars pull up, kids (oh yeah, I said it, kids) are yelling, doors are slamming. Big J and I wake up because, of course, there is absolutely no reason for us to be up at that hour. We wait for it to quiet down, but no...loud talking, laughing, more slamming doors. Big J gets up puts some clothes on and heads out.

Now, let me just say that in our heart of hearts we are not interested in busting up teenage parties. After all, it's hard to condemn what you yourself have done, and more importantly enjoyed and have fond memories of. So Big J heads over, and in his completely diplomatic way asks them to keep it down because he doesn't want anyone to call the cops. Ms. J's daughter is appropriately respectful, all the while trying to hide her beer behind her and the fact that she is incredibly drunk. And, of course, they quiet right down.

This really caused me to think about my age and how I thought of adults when I was 18. There would be no sense in telling a teenager that I had been in the same place they currently are, because I know my own response would have been along the lines of, "Whatever" (with a whole lot of attitude). But the fact is, I really do understand. But I also understand that there is no way in hell that an 18 year old would believe me. It's a little hard to take.

But I think it's an important realization. No teenager wants a parent that tries to be a teenager along with them, that tries to fit in with their friends, and that doesn't act like a parent. I think I instinctively knew that, but I also feel like I'm finally there. I'm the parent, I'm the adult. And as much as I still occasionally enjoy blasting a little Rage Against the Machine while driving, I really hate the thumping bass of teenagers driving by.

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