Remember when we were children? There was no such thing as the video game. We had no smart phones or computers to keep us busy. What we did have was the Great Outdoors. Our mother’s favorite thing to say was, “go outside and stay outside.” I think we were only allowed to play inside of it were raining.
I remember leaving after breakfast and only coming home for lunch and dinner. Our rule was we had to come in for good when the street light’s came on. DH’s mom had a cow bell attached to the front of her house that she would ring to let her boys know it was time for lunch, dinner or bed. It was a simpler time. It was a carefree time.
When the kid was little, I remember feeling so resentful that I couldn’t let her play as I did. Why couldn’t I? When did it change? I mean, I think they had just as many perverts back then as they do now, maybe even more. My parents weren’t afraid some psycho was going to snatch us off the street.
Because I had to conform to society and because I loved my kid and was scared shitless of what the media said, I kept her in. Safe and sound. I remember if she played outside in the yard, I would pull up a chair. I mean, we would hear on the news that weirdo’s were coming into people’s yards and taking their children. Out of their own yard! That right there is some scary shit.
What are our kids going to tell their children? Probably something that sounds a bit like this: “When I was young, we would play Wii until the cows came home. And there was this really cute place called a Park and all the moms would sit on the bench and watch us like hawks while we played. I remember this one time, your grandmother had a heart attack because she lost sight of me for about 40 seconds. Haha! It was a trip. You should have seen the look on her face. We almost had to call 911 on her.”
I can totally see why we are called helicopter parents. These poor kids will not have street smarts. My kid sometimes forgets to look both ways before crossing the street because she always assumes it’s my job. I don’t think she can find her way out of a paper bag. I’m afraid when she goes off to college she’s not going to know what to do. How to navigate. We’re going to have to pin a GPS device to her jacket.
Look, I know I’m exaggerating a bit. I have dropped the kid off at the mall with some friends and she comes home unscathed. I’m learning to let go a little. Be a little less afraid. So let’s see….three years, 6 months and approximately 1 week until she leaves for college. A little more time for me to hover. Then what? Advice to give our kids who are going off to college: don’t put your drink down and travel in packs. Let’s hope they listen or I’ll be having another heart attack. Or twelve.