Monday, April 20, 2009

Call Me Overprotective

But I don't care.

I find it difficult to cut the cord with my kids. I'm a self-proclaimed worrywart. I wholeheartedly admit it. I don't watch the news and I don't read the paper often; hearing about children being abducted or harmed does me in. I can't stomach it.

I try not to wig my kids out too much. I don't want them growing up into paranoid adults. But I do emphasize caution in letting them too far out of my sight. Sorry, if you don't agree, and think I'm smothering them. I'd rather my child be safe.

Lately, Mr. Schmitty and I have been stretching that cord a bit where W. is concerned. We have been letting him venture out, further than our block, on his bike. There are rules to abide by; boundaries have been discussed, he must be with a friend, and he must have his cell phone turned on.

I MUST be able to contact him.

Our cell phones are equipped with the Chaperone application. We can log on and locate him within seconds. It does a lot to ease my mind.

On Saturday he was with his friend Morgan and they were riding to and from our house, to hers, to the local park. About mid-afternoon, I gave him a call to see what he was up to and to tell him what time to be home for dinner. His phone went right to voicemail. I logged on to the GPS system and was told it was unavailable.

As he isn't the greatest at making sure his phone is charged, the logical answer was that his battery was dead. Or he simply forgot to turn it on. Neither would be a surprise.

Yet, I still had that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I grabbed my keys and drove the few blocks towards the park. "It was a gorgeous day," I told myself, "I'm sure they are there having fun."

I glanced up and down the streets as I drove, looking for children riding their bikes. I arrived at the park and saw my friend Stephanie. I asked her if she had seen W. She shook her head and asked if I was checking up on him. She laughed because she was doing the same with her girls.

I guess I'm not alone.

I continued on to Morgan's house. There on the front lawn, tangled with others, was W.'s red bike. I knocked on the door and he came out.

"Um, W., your cell phone only works if you have it ON," I said to him.

"It is on!" He exclaimed.

"Could you check it, please," I said more as a statement than a question.

He pulled it out of his pocket and grinned, "Ooooppsss!"

I gave him "the look" and told him that with more privileges came more responsibility. He apologized and promised he wouldn't forget again.

"I hope so!" I said as I walked back to the car. I was proud of myself. I hadn't yelled, I hadn't lectured, I hadn't freaked out.

I took a deep breath and let out a huge sigh of relief. This parenting gig was SO MUCH easier when they were babies.

And yet, I have only just begun.


Dina said...

Thank you for this post! I am right there with you! I have 3 ages 8,11, and 14. It gets tough keeping track of the kidlings. I don't let the 8 year old out of my site. I admit to panicking if I can't get hold of them. I know they are fine, but those mom senses go into overload, and My imagination runs rampant. Thank you for letting me know its not just me!!

Super B's Mom said...

I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I got that feeling in my stomach as I read your story, because I was imagining what I would have done.

A few weeks ago, I took Super B to the park and I allowed him to play about 50 yards away from me, as I sat on a park bench. I got distracted watching a bird (it doesn't take much to fascinate me) and I suppose a couple of minutes passed without checking on him. When I looked up, his bright orange shirt was nowhere to be seen. I began walking toward the play structure, faster and faster, calling his name. Probably 45 seconds later (felt like 45 friggin minutes) - he and an older boy popped their heads out. They had been hiding from me.

And yes...I busted out in tears in front of everyone. But I was shaken up big time. And I had to take a few minutes to calm down to keep from letting loose on B. That's the worst feeling in the whole world...and that's the one thing I'm finding it oh so hard to do. Let go. Just saying it makes me want to puke.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

I try not watch news about children who are killed or who go missing, but inevitably I end up watching, fascinated and horrified by it all in one fell swoop. Then I begin to freak out as I think about something happening to my own child and I fall into deep depression and worry. I can totally relate to your post, even though my little one is only 2. I have a feeling I will be doing the same thing years down the road.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I don't blame you at all...I would have done the SAME thing. My oldest is only 6 1/2 and I know I will be the worry wart mama. But it sounds like you did it with very little damage to his boy ego! ;)

Bonnie the Boss said...

I am the same way and I have family members who make fun of me. But, I follow the creed better safe than sorry!

The Fritz Facts said...

I am the same way. I struggle with the kids getting older, mainly because I know what things were like for me as a child, and what they are like now. I don't like the risk involved in letting my children grow, but do try to give them a little line each day.

Sometimes, it sucks being Mom.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

Let the fun begin.

♥georgie♥ said...

It is so hard the older they get...I wish i was just dealing with for me it is cars and can so n so take me home yiyiyiyiyi I feel your pain and am very happy for you with how you handled the situation...WTG mom!

Drama Queen Jenner said...

I'm thinking of getting microchips in my younger two. Only partly kidding. But I don't take them to the park alone. It's hard enough taking them to the grocery store, where I can strap them in the cart. I do NOT want my babies to grow up and explore. But I'll let them, like I did their older sister, and I'll trust them to gradually make more decisions for thmselves, because I'll have taught them how. But I don't have to like it!

Natalie said...

i have to admit that america is scary to me! living in turkey for the past 7 years i didn't worry about my kids at all. they were all over the neighborhood and i never worried. i'll never forget one trip back to the states for a visit. we were in new york...jfk airport and my then 6 year old wanted to go to the bathroom. she started to run off to find it alone. i freaked! after i took her to the bathroom i sat them all down and told them that we were in america not turkey. america was different. i hated that i had to scare them like that, but they were so used to being able to run free and take candy from strangers. most people are shocked when they hear that, but it is so true!

Laura said...

I try so hard to be realistic about my stalking, I mean protection services...but it is heard - especially in this nw crazy world. As a kid - I would spend hours riding my bike and playing where ever I wanted - I do not remember rules - but now, well, it is a different story.

The Fritz Facts said...

I just gave you a gift on the blog...check it out!

Lala's world said...

tell me about it! I have a 15 year old daughter and am having to trust that she is really where she says she is knowing that I wasn't always at her age! YIKES!