One of the things that helped us fall in love with our house was the neighborhood. It's full of modest, but well maintained homes, and many of the owners have lived in the neighborhood for 30+ years. Over the past month we've had the pleasure of meeting our neighbors on both sides and the neighbor that lives directly in front of us.
On one side is a man who I would guess to be in his late 70s and his wife. We haven't met the wife yet because apparently she has some health issues and doesn't spend much time outside, but the man is just the nicest guy you could ask for. He's fun to talk to, he's helped us identify some of the flowers around the house, and he's given me many tips for keeping my little garden alive. Keeping plants alive isn't a strong suit of mine, but so far so good. He's never mentioned having kids, but his college age grandson comes to cut his lawn every week, so I know he and his wife have at least one child. Yet he's never once said anything about us having kids or asked us when we were going to have kids.
On the other side is a lovely couple in their 90s (the man just turned 94 this week) who have lived in their house for 57 years. They invited us over for lemonade last weekend and we sat on their porch and talked to them for over an hour. The conversation spanned many topics (work, the neighborhood, mortgage rates, local sports teams), including the fact that they have nine children, 41 grandchildren, and 14 (and counting) great grandchildren, statistics that were stated as fact, not as bragging. Once they started talking about their large family I fully expected the conversation to turn to our procreation plans, but it never did.
The neighbors in front are a nice couple, roughly our age. They have a daughter who is maybe nine and a son who is maybe four. They are very talkative and have been very welcoming to the neighborhood. Yet within the first five minutes of meeting them the first time the wife asked if we had kids and then quickly followed up by stating that she is sure I'll be pregnant by the end of summer now that the stress of buying and fixing up the house is over. I really wanted to go batshit crazy on her, but I also don't want to piss off the neighbors, so I held my tongue and opted for a simple "actually we can't have kids," at which point the conversation pretty much died. Thankfully it hasn't come up again, but if it does, I'll probably add a bit more snark to my response.
The elderly neighbors said nothing about children or reproductive plans, but the neighbors our age did. So I'm left to wonder if this is a generational thing. Were things such as family planning seen as a private matter not to be discussed back when they were of childbearing age (in the 1950s and 60s)? Or since they came of age in a time when there was no assisted reproduction if they just more naturally and easily accepted that sometimes people can't have kids? Maybe some combination of both? I don't know, but it was really refreshing to have conversations with people who were able to see us for us.