Yesterday, a mom of one of Karen’s friends said, “Well, when I was a kid, I took off on my bike and was gone all day. I just decided that it was time to start letting [my daughter] go on her own. I mean, I’m sending her with my cell phone and having her check in. I mean, c’mon, we didn’t even have cell phones back then!”
This mom was surprised that I wasn’t comfortable with Karen riding her bike alone for a mile to her friends’ house. Karen is eleven. If she weren’t going alone, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but since she was…no way.
Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, at 43, peer pressure still exists. You’d think it would go away when you became an adult. Or at least, you hoped it would. But, no. I was standing there, on the phone getting pressure from this mom to let my daughter ride alone. I explained that I didn’t want her riding up there alone and the mom said, “Oh, I thought you lived near “Lucy” and “Ethel.”” I said, “Yep. We do. But, that is just too far for Karen to go on her own. I’m just not comfortable with it.” “Oh.” Then I let the uncomfortable silence sit there.
The mom then agreed that I could come and pick her daughter up and take the girls to Planet Smoothie. Which is what I offered in the first place.
Do I wish this was an era where I could say, “See ya!” to my kids and have them home by dark? Sure do! Those were great times. Did horrible things happen to kids back then? Sure did, we just didn’t know about them. But, now we do. We hear about them all the time. And, knowing a registered sex offender (involving children) lives between our house and Karen’s friend’s house made the decision even easier. But, even if that wasn’t true, I still wouldn’t have let her go. It just seemed so far away.
I believe in safety in numbers. And, Karen and her two friends used to walk to and from school every day last year. But, during that time of day, there were lots of other kids and parents walking to and from school as well. So, it’s not that we live in a scary area, or that I want my children to be afraid to go anywhere. But, I’m not going to send them out to play in traffic, either.
I just felt the need to write this down. I don’t want to be a helicopter mom. I want to let my kids grow up. But, they both still have plenty of time for that. Right? Hang on, I’ve gotta go cut the crusts of their PB&Js.