I am dreading even more the fact that we are struggling into coats and backpacks to be out the door by 15 minutes to 8 to get to the school early. Not because all three of them go in at 8, but because The Oldest has an obligation. He is a safety patrol and needs to be there no later than 8:05.
The other two, however, stand outside waiting till 8:30, which means I stand outside the kindergarten door for half an hour, "Get down, don't lick that! Stop touching things! Listen to me please?!?!" This is my morning on the weeks I walk them, or it was till I decided to let go.
We live in an age of fear and I won't deny that I was one of those parents! You know the one who feels a lot of things are unnecessary right now, like going to a friends house or playing out front with the neighbor children, because you have a freaking yard!!
However, it is because of this fear that we tend to not let go, even a little bit, and it all starts with the walk to school.
My fear is different when it comes to my children! I am not a 100% afraid that if I let The Oldest and Smiles walk to school that some pervert is going to snatch them up. I have done enough youth protection and sexual misconduct to know that 7 out of 10 molestation and abductions are done by a close friend or family member. No my biggest fear is my children themselves.
I thought about it last year, letting the older two walk the four or five straight line blocks to school and you know what happened? In my mind I saw one of them pushing the other into oncoming traffic. Yup! My kids might seem smart, but they aren't and I am fearful it's my fault because I have guided them for too long.
I walked them all together for the first month and a half of school. Watching their every movement. Could The Oldest be trusted to walk the 5 blocks to school on his own?
Is he going to walk with his hands in his pockets, head down, shoulders hunched, watching his feet instead of the world around him? Have I walked him too long and this child may be alive by accident, only because I was there to make sure he didn't cross the street at the wrong moment?
I worried it over and over in my mind! There is a strong possibility I am my child's worst enemy because I didn't give him the tools to know how to look both ways before crossing the street. This of course isn't true. For the last 7 years, ever since that first morning walk during Kindergarten, I have talked to him about street safety. However, I am sure I am not the only mother who has a child who only sort of hears you when you speak.
So during these last seven years, even though I taught him what to look for and how to be aware, I was also hyper aware and keeping him alive.
My dislike of being rushed and being outside more then five minutes at the school won over my fear. Even if it had taken a month in a half. Even if I had to weigh it all out before finally making the decision to let go.
And I let go! I watched as he pulled on his winter coat, the bright neon yellow safety patrol sash across his chest, kissed me good bye, heading out the door to walk alone for the first time. Ever!
I will totally admit that the first two days I hastened his brothers five minutes after he left so I could follow behind like some serious psycho momma, watching his form ahead of me, to see if he looked both ways and paid attention. Are you crazy? That is my baby!
Yet by day 3, I took a deep breath and realized it was a lot nicer getting to the school just as the bell was ringing instead of a half hour before. I can trust this, my oldest child.
He is smart and capable, a good listener. He doesn't take chances and he takes his obligations and responsibilities seriously! Oh, and before I know it, he will be getting on a bus to go all the way across town to the Junior High. I had to let go eventually, because he is growing up and I can't change that! I won't change that!
Smiles on the other hand, might be walked to school until he is 18! I got to compromise, but that kid needs a keeper.