Real quick, before I launch into my actual post for today. I want to jot down 2 quick takes from our last Target run.
Ace (waiting for me to be done browsing the book section) : Are you going to actually buy any books or are you just going to critique the ones you’ve already read?
Jay (after I suggested that we buy a puzzle so that we’ll have a family activity to work on the next time it rains) : Why would we do a puzzle just because it’s raining if we still have electricity?
Moving on ….
I realize every parent and even every generation of parents has things they struggle with and worry about. Some are universal and some are more unique to your family and situation. I find myself in a situation that my grandparents (that’s who raised me) and the parents of my closest friends/cousins didn’t experience.
To give some perspective, I did an illustration.
This is kind of how my neighbourhood looked when I was growing up. My driveway was like 1/4 of a mile long. My Aunt, my 1 cousin and I couldn’t even see the main road from our houses. There wasn’t anything on the other side of us either really except a large piece of land. Since my drawing skills are lacking, it looks like my other cousins house sat right on the main road. That’s not true. There was another smaller road that turned off the main road before you could get to her driveway. We were tucked away pretty nicely.
You’ve heard me talk about the boys Aunty Juddles before and I’ve said a million and one times that the people I am friends with now are the same people I’ve been friends with my entire life and how much I love them. Just look at that picture. We really were very fortunate to have that set up. We had no need really to venture out into the “real world” or to arrange play dates outside of our bubble.
We had lots of space to ride our bikes, roller skate, play croquet, swing, picnic. (See all the private driveways?) We had trees to climb and shaded patios to choreograph shows. All our houses – even those of my Great Grandfather and Aunt were always open to us. We roamed from house to house and yard to yard having a great time. Our parents never had to worry about where we were; even though this was pre-cell phones. Once we were sure that everyone had finished their homework, we had free range. My 1 cousin had a pool, another cousin had a Nintendo and a satellite dish. My yard was good for baseball. Juddles was good for swinging on the tire or board games. My house always had sweet home-made lemonade or fruit-punch. We were allowed to have soda at my cousins and Juddles’ mom often had baked goodies. My Aunt next door made jello with fruit cocktail in the bottom and, when we asked her to, she paid us for doing little chores around her house. There were lots of sleep overs with ZERO worries on our parents part about whether or not we’d be safe.
I value my friendships so much I can’t even put it into words and I’ve always wanted my boys to have strong friendships as well. The kind that last a lifetime.
Ace came home from the first day of school asking if he could ride his bike to his friends house. He had met this kid over the summer and they’re in the same class now. Say what? Ahm … Uh …
We live in a safe area, but it’s not Jamaica in the 1980’s and we are not sheltered from the bad guys. I don’t KNOW the parents of my kids friends. Heck, I may or may not even know the neighbourhood kids last names. We’ve had kids sleep over at our house before and I’m totally fine with that but I haven’t allowed my boys to sleep at any of their school friends house. It’s just too worrisome.
I did let Ace ride his bike across our townhouse development to go and chill with his friend. After verifying with the kids dad that an adult would be home and reminding Ace about being careful crossing the street and that he’d better keep his phone turned on and get back home at the appointed time.
I wasn’t nervous about it at all. I’m totally lying. I definitely wanted him to enjoy himself, but ….
Times are different. But he’s 12 and I can’t stifle him. But he’s a good kid and hopefully what he’s learned so far will serve him well and hopefully he picks good friends. That’s so important. But there’s still so much he doesn’t know or understand about the world at large. But he’ll never learn if I don’t give him some space to experience things. My God this letting your kids go business is hard.
You’ll be happy to hear that he came home, with 5 minutes to spare on the curfew that I gave him and he was in one, unharmed, piece. He tells me they played fort night and talked. Great!
I know it’s only going to get worse. Or better, depending on how you look at it. He’s going to want to spend more and more time out with friends as he gets older. I will have to let him go; with some boundaries and stipulations of course.
This thing that I want so badly for him is also a thing that’s bothering me more than I expected it to.
Test your wings my little one. Just don’t fly too high yet ok? I love you and I’m scared.