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Saturday, June 18, 2005

In Which I Realize Life Is Like Junior High

To my lovely next door neighbor,

Today you told my husband he was mean. You demanded that he apologize to your son, not for a particular incident, but rather overall mean behavior.

You are right, he is so very mean.

It was mean of him to volunteer to coach a team that no one else would. A team that would not even exist if he had not stepped forward.

It was mean of him to leave work early three days per week and sacrifice his Saturdays in order to coach.

It was mean of him to ask the boys to at least call and let him know if they aren't going to come to the game, because there is quite a bit of thought and planning that goes into the batting order and field positions. Last week only seven boys showed up for the Friday evening game. That makes nine boys who didn't come or call. We had to borrow two boys from the other team. I would have called all nine of those boys when I got home and asked for an explanation, but he didn't do that because he is mean, unlike me.

Or, perhaps you were referring to his interactions with the boys on the team. It was mean of him to forbid the boys from leaving the dug out and going to buy food at the snackbar during a game. God knows going without junkfood for a couple of hours might kill them.

Likewise, it was mean of him not to let the boys play whatever position they want to play whenever they want to play it, including his own sons. Perhaps next time he'll let 6 boys play first base simultaneously, really the team couldn't do much worse.

Perhaps he was mistaken about what this coaching job would entail. Because my husband has no desire to have a 12 year old best friend. If you want someone to to baby your twelve year old, I suggest coming and doing it yourself. And frankly at 12 years old, being told to "walk it off" if you are hit in the leg with a ball is appropriate. In the words of my infamous 10 year old, "It's a baseball, not a bullet. You'll live." Nothing warms my heart like my 10 year old cynic.

It was very nice of your husband to play coach for the day last week when my husband was away. I told my husband he needs to be as nice to the boys the next game. He should let our two boys play every inning and play whatever position their little hearts desire, the way your husband did with your son. Because apparently you can be unfair and still not be mean.

My husband told you that he would be happy to apologize to your son if he had truly hurt his feelings, because he would never want to hurt a twelve year old. I told my husband that he could do that over my dead body. We don't always get everything that we want in life. That is just how life is. At twelve years old your son should be able to face that fact. And, as his mother so should you without calling to complain that my husband is mean for not granting your son's every desire.

You might have heard me outside in my yard when I was grilling last night. My 4 year old kept stealing slices of cheese that I had laid out to go on top of the hamburgers. I finally yelled, "Stop it! I am mean. You have two mean parents. MEAN MEAN MEAN. You better get used to it!" And then I cackled.

I thought about it later and realized that was probably mean of me. So when I drove by your house and saw that you were out in the front yard working on your flower gardens, I waved, but you didn't wave back. You were looking right at me, but perhaps you didn't recognize me. I know that there are so very many people who drive green 15 passenger vans, and pull out of my driveway. That's why I honked the horn, repeatedly.

I know you didn't ignore me on purpose. That would be mean.

Your next door neighbor,

PS- My mean husband had no part in this letter and would probably be horrified to know of it's existence.


Blogger undergraduate said...

I so wish I had written that letter! there have been times when I've dearly wanted to tear someone off a strip, but felt I could not say how I feel honestly.

I always seem to get the plug-end of life's bathtub.

My son (17) and I had a 'full and frank discussion' about rights, and responsibilities tonight... thats HIS rights and MY responsibilities! What's gone wrong with the world... ain't no-one got any respect...?

ps, I found your blog via Ally, who has a link to you. Good read, I'll be back!


7:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Don't you know that responsibility, and commitment and consideration are so last year? Actually, I'm really sorry that someone who took the time to try to do something for kids is being treated like he is. I also wonder, did these kids WANT to play or is it their parents who just want them gone for awhile?

8:36 PM  
Anonymous epiphany said...

Oh so many times I have wanted to write that same letter in regards to being my daughter's classroom mom...a job which no one else wanted but I stepped up to take. At least once a week I got a complaint from parents who never did anything, about the fact that their rotten children did not get a sticker or that I didn't give the kids enough crap for a party...hmmm, seeing as my husband is a teacher (translation...we are broke) and I paid for everything and the other parents could never be bothered to donate items or time...well the best they got from me, was a nice "Bite Me!" comment.

Once again...I wish I had written that! Thank you!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The kids seem to want to play baseball... just completely on their own terms, with no guidance or rules. My husband is so NOT mean that I am annoyed, can you tell?

9:15 PM  
Blogger Lenise said...

There are times to turn the other cheek, and there are times when people need to get a dose of reality from someone else's perspective. Sheesh!

If it makes you feel any better, people like that are never happy because they can't appreciate their blessings (like a nice and dedicated little league coach)

9:25 PM  
Blogger Melessa said...

I wish there was some way I could convince you to print this up and leave it on your neighbor's porch. I realize it would cause more trouble than it would solve, but parents like this really get on my nerves.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I immediately printed that out and took it into the family room where my husband is watching TV.
He takes many many hours of his precious time to do just as your husband does, coach the kids.

Some of the parents don't appreciate it at all.
Others do.
I guess that is life huh?

We have had our trials and tribulations with baseball this year but David really enjoys it and it means a lot to the boys.

We just need to get through All Stars and we are done until August.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done Chris. I just started reading your blog a few days ago, and I must say, you have a way with words!!! :)
Hopefully, your sour neighbor will read this and get the hint. Good for you and your husband for standing your ground!!

11:36 PM  
Blogger cubmommy said...

I just wanted to tell you that was awesome. I am tired of people not dealing with their kids and letting them get away with everything.

8:28 AM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...

Sometimes it helps to write it out huh? But ya know, other times you still want to see them in the distance, hold up your finger and thumb around their heads in your eye site and making believe you are "squishing their heads" between your finger and thumb.


8:56 AM  
Blogger TBG said...

You really should send it to your neighbor. She is the reason I usually dont like other peoples kids. Kids are brats because of their retarded parents. It amazes me that people feel the need to be at their childrens beck and call and meet there every demand. I only hope she reads your blog.

I love your ten year olds comment "Its not a bullet..."

9:00 AM  
Anonymous patricia said...

ditto to your letter and all the comments! right on!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Bernadette said...

I love how you defend your husband in this post--to the extent of cackling at the cheese thief and honking your horn repeatedly!!

Our son's baseball coach this season was weak and ineffectual and the boys (not MINE, of course!) have run roughshod, played dismally, and learned nothing.

Happy belated Father's Day to your mean man!

11:06 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Did your little cynic actually TELL him that it was a baseball not a bullet? I LOVE IT! Your husband is waaaayyy too nice. I wouldn't have let my husband apologize either. Grrrr.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

Chris-I've been reading your blog for about a month and love it. I even have my husband taking a peek at it once in awhile. I'll have him read this. He used to coach high school basketball and had the same problems as your husband. A lot of parents just don't have a clue. They think their kids can do no wrong.
Thanks for all the great writing.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

This is my first visit to your blog, but I have to say, I think I love you!

12:39 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Awesome letter, there needs to be more "mean" parents in the world.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask when her husband is going to take over the coaching next time she has a big whinge about her precious 12 year old baby. That will shut her up as he won't want to do it. She would not be happy if Jesus was coaching so who cares about her comments

9:33 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

LOL, the image of jesus coaching is too much. Would he look just like Johnny Damon? Because the kids would probably dig that ;-)

9:56 AM  
Blogger joy madison said...

HILARIOUS!!!! Why are people so crazy? Unfortuately my crazy neighbor knows of my blog, so I can't write about her.....

1:12 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Whoa! I read this and thought someone is mean all right and I don't think it's your husband.

Take out the word "baseball" and insert "choir" and you've got my take on meanness. When the group meets for the first time to practice and the most often asked question is, "how many solos are there?" you know this is going to be fun. And people wonder why I usually refuse to direct these things. heh!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Whoa! I read this and thought someone is mean all right and I don't think it's your husband.

Take out the word "baseball" and insert "choir" and you've got my take on meanness. When the group meets for the first time to practice and the most often asked question is, "how many solos are there?" you know this is going to be fun. And people wonder why I usually refuse to direct these things. heh!

10:08 AM  
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2:40 AM  
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2:38 PM  
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3:36 PM  
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9:03 PM  
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5:18 AM  

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