Dear Busybody Neighbors,
This is a letter to you, the ones that made a huge fuss over the state of chaos that was our yard after several tons of oak tree smashed our house during Hurricane Irene; The ones who welcomed us back to the neighborhood the very day we arrived home after our 10 months of refugee-living (while our house was being rebuilt) by reminding us that we had one week to clean up the yard before the America In Bloom garden snob judges came to town. There are many of you in this neighborhood, I know because I've had you pull over to remind us that our grass needs mowing even when it is only an inch or two taller than yours. I've seen you scoff at the toys scattered on the porch and the general unruliness of our yard.
There's really not much sense in my yard having elaborate landscaping like so many of your homes in this idyllic historic town. My children are too busy running barefoot, and climbing trees, and organizing impromptu touch football games in the front yard. And because my children will grow up far too fast...and far too soon...I don't have the heart to tell them they must only walk (not run) in ordered steps on the sidewalks or that the proper place to play games is an athletic field wearing proper uniforms under the supervision and direction of some rec department employee with their guidebook of rules and regulations.
So this is just a reminder from me that my yard will never look perfect (like so many of your yards do; like something straight from a magazine) because I value my children and their brief childhoods over the narrow opinions of my neighbors. Consider this a warning that we will continue to be "that family" with boisterous barefooted children. You see, I don't feel like I should tuck my children away from the world just so they don't annoy you...and I'll let the general disarray of my yard be a constant and vigilant reminder, a metaphorical thumbing of my nose in your general direction (or a big middle finger if you've been particularly obnoxious to me in the past).
And you'll probably find me running barefooted and digging holes right along with them. You're just going to have to deal with it.