Monday, October 13, 2008

The grass is always greener: a true story

I use blogging as an outlet to get the things that are stuck in my head OUT of my head. I only have so much space in there and I will relive moments over and over unless I share them. And since I don't work in an office where I can gather around the water cooler and chat, this blog has become that outlet. So here goes:

We had a block party in our neighborhood this weekend. We've never attended one before because it's usually Labor Day weekend and we spend it up North at the beach as a wrap up to summer. Somewhere along the way, I convinced the neighbors to push it out a bit and we decided on Columbus Day weekend. It was a huge success. Food from every continent arrived - who knew our neighborhood was so ethnically diverse. And I shook hands of people that I normally only wave to as they drive by my house.

What ruffled my feathers wasn't directly related to the block party but was a revelation that was made after a few beers later in the evening around a firepit long after the kids were asleep. Apparently, I come from money. Something I was unaware of. I wonder if my parents know?

I'll fill you in...

When hubby and I decided to sell, and buy, at the high end of the real estate market in 2004 there were lots of options for us. We were both working full time and doing quite fine - not great - but fine. We knew what our mortgage *could* be, but we also know what we *wanted* it to be. Since I was preggers with #2, we were trying to avoid anything outrageous and we were both raised in middle-class neighborhoods as kids and we wanted that for our children. He grew up in ranch home and I grew up in a cape. Certainly, not in a 5,000 sq. ft "mansion". And not by hot-shot executives at big firms in Boston who were never home (which I love about my parents, I might add).

We liked the overall location of our town so we set out for that perfect neighborhood. Our chooses came down to two neighborhoods. The fantastic cul-de-sac we live in now, or a newer development with brand new homes and manicured lawns. Instantly, I thought of headlines in the paper about wealthy children left home alone while the parents trot about the globe and how heroin and Meth is the drug of choice in the basements of those large homes. How would my kids feel when we actually stayed home during February vacation and didn't head off to London to shop for a prom dress? I may be exaggerating a bit, but just the pressure of the landscaping had me running scared.

I can honestly say that I love that our neighborhood is all different styles and sizes of houses. You can stand in your driveway and talk to your neighbor from your porch and the mailman stops at every house to chat. Here comes the ironic part...

My SUV and sense of "style" has intimidated my neighbors and many of the other mom's shy away when I come around with the kids because they thought I came from money. I'm still digesting this information and really haven't decided how I feel. The kicker is, I don't shop on Newbury Street in Boston, but at Ann Taylor Loft and Marshalls up the street. I buy designer bags a huge discounts from TJ Maxx. I am afraid of malls and the prices of the things in them. And I've had my Lexus RX for 4.5 years and we'll probably run it to the ground at this point.

So while I was afraid that we'd be unwelcome in a neighborhood of manicured lawns and sprinkler systems without a 24/7 landscaper, it ends up that the neighborhood I can relate to best has been just as judgemental.

I think I cleared the air with the ladies. I was happy to hear that while many thought I was a bit unapproachable, not once was I ever categorized as snobbish or rude or condescending. In fact, everyone really likes me...I guess I have to keep comfort in knowing I'm not the spawn of the devil in their eyes, maybe just a little too confident. Go figure.

I won't apologize for working hard and paying off thousands of dollars of student loans to be the first in my family to have a college degree. I won't apologize for working my way through a company during a time when jobs were just as hard, if not harder, to come by than in this market. And I certainly won't apologize for rewarding myself with a SAFE, reliable car for me and my kids.

I can only be who I am and that's the best I can give. I think it's enough.

1 comment:

Fairly Odd Mother said...

OMG! The one thing I'd NEVER think of you is snobby or uppity or so loaded I can't talk to you! Wow. But, sometimes you need to have those ice-breakers to open those doors and break down any stereotypes, you Lexus-driving hotshot. ; )