Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Hope-less Situation

The girls have a new friend on our street. Her name is Hope and she is Kyra's age, though not in Kyra's class. She's not actually new to our street. Her family has probably lived here longer than we have, but, like us, has succumbed to the secluded nature of our neighborhood. Nobody really knows each other beyond a polite wave and possibly a smile, so parents are nervous about allowing their kids to roam. I know it's true of us.

Ever since Kyra learned to ride her bike, the first thing the girls want to do when they get home from school is ride up and down the street. And I'm more than happy to let them do it. It's so much better than fighting against them plopping down in front of the boob tube and watching an hour of cartoons. But I also fight that overprotective streak. Do I stay outside and WATCH them ride or do I go inside and get some things done. Because Kyra is so new to bike riding (or so I've reasoned), I've chosen to stay outside with them, you know, just in case she falls or to stay on the lookout for cars, that type of thing. I grab my book and a camping chair and set it up on the shaded front walkway where I can keep an eye on the girls and gleefully wave at my cold and distant neighbors as they drive by.
Ever since the girls discovered that Hope lived six houses down from us, the second thing they want to do upon their return home is to see if Hope can come outside to play. It didn't take me long to discover a pattern in this ritual. It went something like this:

"Dad, can we see if Hope can come out to play?"



Two minutes later, two dejected girls ascend the driveway on their bikes.

"Her mom said she has homework/chores/insert other excuse here to do."

Every day was the same, and though I knew the excuse was coming, I'd STILL let them go ring Hope's doorbell, knowing full well that Hope would never see the light of day, poor thing.

Imagine my surprise when the girls brought Hope over to our house to play on Friday afternoon. She does exist, I thought, and was relieved to discover Hope to be a sweet and polite little girl. Finally the girls have a normal neighborhood kid their age that they can play with! They had a great time together with no tiffs or hurt feelings, and they spent a lot of time together over the weekend.

Perhaps too much time. Yesterday, the after school routine played out as it had over the past couple of weeks with the girls jumping on their bikes and heading over to Hope's house. I later walked into the kitchen to find a heartbroken Kyra sitting with Diane at the kitchen table. "Tell Daddy what happened," Diane prompted, shooting me a look.

"I rang Hope's doorbell and her Mom answered the door and when I asked if Hope could come out to play she said 'No' and slammed the door in my FACE."

Diane shot me another look. Wow.
Now whether or not she "slammed" the door is subject to debate. Kyra is a sensitive soul and could very well be reading into things. However, I couldn't help but notice that Hope's Mom had given up on giving excuses for why Hope couldn't play, and it seems that the girls have worn out their welcome. So now we need to figure out what to do. At 2:00 pm today, the girls will return from school and will want to go down to Hope's house. Do I let them? Or do I give them a few days off?

Things were so much easier when I just let them watch TV.

No comments: