We were taking the dog for a walk the other day, me and my youngest son(10). He was riding his bike, I was walking the dog, it was a particularly beautiful day for Michigan in February, 40ish degrees and sunny. We have a pretty big "block" that we like to go around and we were on our way back, on our own street. He was a bit ahead of me, about a house away, there were some boys his age playing basketball and they asked if he wanted to play. At first he wasn't sure if they were talking to him so he didn't answer so they asked again. He looked at me, "Mom..can I?" I'm in a quandary at this point, what do I do, what do I say, should I say yes? I don't know any of these kids, I do recognize two of them that live kitty-corner behind us, but I don't really know them. My brain is working overtime feels like 10 or 15 minutes, it's actually only seconds..then it hits me. MY PHONE! That's it, I'll let him stay and he has to take my phone so I can call and tell him when to come home, and of course to protect him in case of kidnapping, pedophiles, deviants, bullies, ninjas, vampires or whatever other serious shit he falls into. Wait! I don't have my phone, shit! It's on the charger! OK, "tell them that you have to go get my phone and then you can come back and play basketball". "Ok Mom, where is it? I'll just ride home and get it and come back!" This kid LOVES basketball , he's so excited right now he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry and the fact that I'm gonna let him play somewhere that far from home and ride his bike back home all by himself...I bet he thought he won the freakin' lottery. So I tell him, "No, I'll get it, I don't want you walking through the house in your muddy shoes". Son: "I'll take my shoes off!" Yea right, since when have you ever remembered to do that before? Ok, fine I give in, go ahead.
Off he goes, I'm close enough to still see him but walking, about the time I get to the house he's been in and out and has my phone. He takes off and I follow him a little ways, so I know he makes it there alright, he kept looking back at me to see what I wanted. LOL Poor kid. Finally I walked back to our house, even the damn dog was confused, she couldn't figure out why the hell the kid was going that way, and we were going this way. She kept looking at me like, "uhh hey...idiot, you left the kid, you don't leave the kid." We got back home, and I tried to keep telling myself not to have a panic attack, he's fine, he's only 6 houses away, just chill. He played for about a half hour and dinner was ready so I called him home. I swear he was at the back door before I hung up. Good boy. And I took a deep breath and had a wine cooler.
Why am I like this? I'll tell you why, because I've watched too many damn shows on TV, or movies about kids getting kidnapped, or killed. I try not to watch them, but it seems like every day there's some news story about some similar thing. They've got me scared to death, there's freakin' kid stealing ninjas lurking around every corner. As I'm typing this there's news stories popping up on the sideline that I can paste in. Were there less when we were kids? I know the whole "Adam" saga was relevant to my childhood he was the same age as me. Were there less instances or did our parents just not hear about them as much because they didn't have internet updating them on everything, all the time, instantly?
We lived in the country, around a lake, everyone knew everyone and all the kids rode the same buss went to the same schools and were mostly friends. There was a little party store about a mile from our house that had penny candy, we'd walk there a lot, or ride horses there, or whatever. We waded in the creek, we swam in the lake, or my best friend's pond. We rode our bikes all over the place, we never even knew what bike helmets were, or riding helmets(horseback riding) , those were for showing horses English and that was it. We were saddling horses and riding when we were LITTLE, by our selves! I learned to saddle(an old, heavy western saddle) a horse from my friend, who learned it at camp, I was 10! We saddled them and rode them all over the place all the time, w/ no adults supervision at all. My Mom and stepdad worked full time, my BFF's Dad did whatever...some farming..some bicycle races..I never did know what his job was..I think he was on disability. Once we rode so far we got lost. We were gone for hours, no one knew where we were, no one was looking for us, finally we let the horses lead the way and we made it back before supper and that's all that mattered. We played outside in the dark, we caught fire flies, we did stupid things and lived through it...why can't it still be just that easy?
|I'm on the left w/ the black mare, I was about 12 in this picture, yeah, I was wearing sandals and shorts to go riding. Yep we had matching shirts too...how cool were we?|