And I don't mean a promotion.
This afternoon when I went out to collect the day's mail I discovered, amid the mass quantities of junk mail (which beats bills hands down any day of the week), a 5x7 mailing alerting the neighborhood to a two time level III sex offender who moved into our safe haven.
So. Not. Perfect.
We have only had a handful of nice days so far this season but this is the first year since I have lived here (9 years) that the street in front of the house is teeming with children. The kids, of which Kelton is the second oldest on the block, are just now being allowed out of the safety of their backyards so that bikes, scooters and skates may be ridden and played with. On a warm day, my front yard has no less than four children, and probably more like five or six, playing catch, pretending to be at the beach with a big beach umbrella, sunglasses and a book or helping to water plants. My driveway is the speedway leading to the street where another child (or usually me) is standing to yell "clear!" so they have ride down the slope and safely into the street. It's actually a very cool feeling to have my kids interacting with the neighbor kids someplace besides just the line for the school bus. And while I don't enjoy being the neighborhood babysitter, I deal with it because with my kids out there I'm going to be there as well anyway.
But now.....oh but now. A bit of evil has snuck in on us and is living across the way.
I read the flyer and quickly did an inventory of the block. I know who lives in all but three of the houses and a fourth house has always been a bit sketchy for me so the kids have had some iron clad rules all their lives regarding that house.
An hour later, my phone rang. My neighbor from across the street called and asked if I had gotten the flyer. We talked a bit and tried to figure out where this person would be living. As it turns out, she knows the person living in one of the house but she agreed on my narrowing down to the three other houses. I held the conversation with her from my front yard as I surveyed the block. The sketchy neighbor along with a few other people were out in their driveway and the longer I stood there, the more uncomfortable the homeowner, who I know by name, looked. I didn't really think much about it.
My neighbor and I said our goodbyes and I proceeded to make dinner for the kids. Like a bolt of lightning it hit me! A conversation I had overheard on Friday afternoon named this particular person's name. It's a name that doesn't belong to anyone else on the block that I knew of and I remember thinking "Who is that? Hmmm...must be someone staying with them."
DING DING DING!!!!!
Crap. The sketchy house. The guy from the flyer is living there. I called my neighbor back and filled her in on my thoughts.
Ok. So "know thine enemy" I can check off the list but dang it. This sucks. True, I don't let the kids out there by themselves (except for brief moments of going in and out of the house for this, that or the other) but geez...I was so looking forward to long summer evenings with the kids and their friends just hanging out playing while I read or chatted with another neighbor. I feel like the peacefulness of my summer evening fantasy has been shattered and it isn't fair.
Yes, they have to live somewhere. I just really wish it wasn't a stones throw away from my children.
I'm grateful for the alert. I really am. I know that there are registered sex offenders in virtually every neighborhood across this country and I get that no one is immune to what I am feeling right now. It really is just another reminder that as a parent, you can never let your guard down when it comes to the safety and well-being of your children.
All that said, I'm hoping he moves soon. Really soon. People do come and go from this particular house frequently so it isn't out of the question...I just hope it is sooner rather than later.