DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My family moved into a neighborhood transitioning from its original owners to a lot of young families, like mine. We happen to live next to one of the last of the original owners.
We have lived here now for almost six months, and except for seeing her getting her mail and coming and going from her driveway, we rarely catch a sight of her. She seems neither nice nor rude, but just kind of in her own world.
The one thing that’s really odd about her is how she spies on us, especially when we are in the backyard. Her bedroom looks out over our backyard, and more times than I can tell you we have seen her curtains move if we happen to look up to her house, as if she has just stepped away from the window.
Our teenage daughter finds it creepy. I think she is a little lonely, and although it strikes me as a touch weird, I think she is harmless.
Is it worth saying something to her about her peeking out at us, or just let the strange old lady do her thing? --- BEING WATCHED
DEAR BEING WATCHED: You haven’t mentioned if you or anyone in your family attempted to initiate direct contact with your neighbor in the six months you’ve lived next door to her.
If not, it seems to make more sense to me to reach out to her and offer a simple introduction, rather than open communications with accusations of spying on your family.
By breaking the ice, not only might you get a better feel for the kind of person she is, but you’ll have made a reasonable effort at neighborliness, possibly opening the door to more regular relations between the two households. That way the next time you see the moving curtain, you could toss a smile and a casual wave her way.
It’s amazing how effective a warm smile can be, especially to someone who may be, as you speculate, lonely.