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.