Coveting a Neighbor’s Kid
covet - verb - yearn to possess or have (Google)
Although only the religious pay attention to the Ten Commandments these days, perhaps more of the irreligious should. Like it or not, we humans need rules to live by; otherwise, we stray, run amuck, and consequently, wind up doing much damage to others and ourselves. The tenth of the Ten is simply, "You shall not covet," implying that you should forget about envying what others have, which is not easy. The idea of keeping up with the Joneses, wanting exactly what your neighbors or friends own in the way of material possessions is never a good thing. My neighbors and friends tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to coveting goods, but two have actually transcended the material norm seemingly to prefer my daughter over their own daughters. I know this sounds odd, unprecedented, but we are existing in the year 2022, a time defined by its moral ambiguity, so anything appears to go.
For example, someone I've known for many years, a woman with two grown daughters, told me a few years ago that she considers my daughter, also an adult, her third daughter. Another friend of mine, a husband of a close friend, pretty much told me the same thing. Both individuals are on the competitive side, having earned graduate degrees and a considerable amount of success in the real world. However, their own children or at least one of the two in each family, has been a disappointment in one way or the other. In walks my daughter, an only child but one who has earned accolades that could easily stand alongside my friends' accomplishments, ergo, making her a sensible surrogate for one of their ne'er-do-well adult children. I suppose superficially this is not a bad thing for my daughter except that both friends text her at all hours of the day and night, looking to engage with her, which makes her feel uncomfortable since she would prefer it if both parties maintained a relationship with me, a contemporary, as opposed to her, someone with whom they have little in common. As it is too difficult to be honest, she prefers to ignore the onslaught of texts, hoping that they will subside on their own. And they usually do. I, of course, have said nothing since I do not care to interfere.
Why this situation is happening exactly, I can only speculate. Coveting is part of human nature, but what this may filter down to is acceptance, desiring to be liked by someone much younger so as to maintain one's youth. In short, both friends could probably be experiencing a just-beyond-mid-life crisis of some kind. Or their own children don't give them the time of day, so they are reaching out to one of the same generation who might.
Or my friends might just be bored with what I have to offer them and yearn for a newer model similar to the original. Admittedly, I miss hearing from these people, miss feeling like I am a close friend. Perhaps it is I who covets the relationship my daughter has with these friends? Maybe all I need to do is take the time to reach out to them so that we can renew the friendship? Hmmm. Something to think about particularly if you are in a similar situation. I suppose the takeaway is just to steer clear of coveting, period.