On http://www.ccjellybeans.blogspot.com/ for the post on “How young is too young to be alone?” but it just got longer and longer and longer.
It’s scary stuff. When I was in grade one and two- about six- I was walking several city blocks in a busy CBD in one of our country’s capital cities to catch a bus to school. And if I missed the bus for some reason, I walked to school, or home. After we moved to a quieter ‘burb, when I was in grade three, on Saturdays the neighbourhood kids liked nothing better than to get on our bikes and disappear, riding bikes, swimming and getting home around 4pm. No cell phones, no money, no bike locks and no helmets (oh the horror) and no telling mom where you’re going! No worries!
Damien was home alone on occasion, usually during school holidays- but only because I couldn’t afford holiday school, I couldn’t take him to work with me, only after he turned twelve and only after I got him a cell phone so I could phone him whenever I needed to (which boiled down to trying not to phone every half hour). It didn’t curb my paranoia though, and it didn’t work out either (see July 4th). I am still loathe to let him out of my sight- even just to go to my mother’s house (which is less than 600m away!) And when I do let him go somewhere alone, the lecture runs as follows:
Remember to keep your cell phone out of sight at all times ‘coz kids have been stabbed for less; remember to lock up your bike ‘coz kids have been stabbed for less; don’t fall for the “help me look for my puppy” routine ‘coz kids disappear or worse; remember I love you; don’t go anywhere you didn’t prearrange with me ‘coz then I can’t find you; don’t deviate from the prearranged route ‘coz then I can’t find you! Have you got sun-block on? Have you got a hat? Is your battery charged? Remember to be home by five (four in winter). Are you sure you don’t want me to take you? I love you, have fun!
All the while trying to memorise what he’s wearing and trying NOT to imagine having to ever use his clothes and distinguishing features as a reference for a search.
Am I obsessed/ paranoid/ neurotic (pick one, they all fit) or what! Do you think Damien knows what’s going through my mind?
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.