I am irrationally angry with my neighbors.
We live in an apartment complex in Baltimore with a population that is probably half Jewish. There is a great playground in our complex that happens to be right within eyesight from our front window. Since we moved in three years ago, whenever it has been nice out, many of our Jewish neighbors have spent all Shabbat afternoon at this playground. My more extroverted husband has gone outside to talk with the “mommy circle” many weeks, often trying to make friends by bringing out our Shabbat dessert to share.
Well, several weeks ago my husband and I noticed that no one had been on the playground for a few weeks. Had it been nap time for everyone? Was it the weather? We couldn’t figure it out. After talking to one of our friends we found out that there had been an incident on the playground. Several older, non-Jewish kids had been playing on the playground, but they were cursing and pushing the smaller kids. The “mommy circle” made a collective decision to go across the street to a grassy area of the complex instead, even though it didn’t have a playground.
And they’ve stayed over there for weeks, while the playground has been sitting empty. No Jewish kids are playing on it, no non-Jewish kids are playing on it. A perfectly good playground is going to waste and it’s driving me nuts. No one has spoken to management. All these moms are doing is punishing themselves and their kids.
I’m not sure how much of the cursing and pushing was intentional towards the kids, or if it was just a case of bigger kids not paying attention to what they were doing. I can understand the “mommy circle” wanting to move away from the bigger kids; in fact, I’m fairly certain if I had been out on the playground when it happened I probably just would have scooped Ziva up and walked back inside.
What I’m having a hard time understanding is why they haven’t returned to the playground. I think sadly, a large part of it is that because these kids weren’t Jewish (as well as being bigger and older), a lot of my neighbors don’t really want their kids around them. A few families are friendly with everyone in the complex, but for the most part, like tends to stick with like.
I think the whole incident is really unfortunate. The people I was counting on to be there now that Ziva is more mobile (her inchworm crawl is adorable) are not there. I am not outgoing like my husband is, and the idea of going across the street with my daughter to hang out with the “mommy circle” is just so out of my comfort zone. I wanted them to be at the playground–it’s practically out my door.
I’m mad at these moms for not standing up for themselves. I’m mad at them for not standing up for their kids. I’m mad at them for taking away our opportunity to be social when we were ready.
Maybe I’m being childish, maybe I’m not. I haven’t figured it out yet. What do you think?