Thursday, May 08, 2008

Let them be free.... but not TOO free..

So this past weekend, while we were away (oh, did I not mention that we were going away? I took J away for his birthday. He didn't want a party. It was a big birthday.... So. We were. AWAY. Did I mention that?)


We were talking about my kids & their growing up... and what to let them do on their own or not. Like J, when he crosses the street with Max will sometimes NOT hold his hand (will not think about this, will not think about this...) and ask Max when it's safe to cross. We talked about when it's safe for them to go to the bathroom in a restaurant on their own (I will take them to the ladies room with me, and they are starting to protest....) or play outside.

I feel like if it is Max and another 8 year old... then somethings are OK - but I don't think it's fair for Max to have to be responsible for his younger brother. Not at this age.

So, Monday night I was at Nathan's little league game. Nathan had team photos before & Max was just hanging out. They were taking the photos at the club house - around the corner from where the fields are.

Max came over & asked "Can I go over to Field 2, with Johnny, and play catch?" I kind of know Johnny & his mom. I went over to the mom - "What do you think?" She was really laid back... sure, no problem... he knows everybody there... So. I said. OK. BUT - I told him - he has to stay on field 2.

About a half hour later we headed over to the fields. I look on field two and guess who was NOT there? Right.

I look over at Field One. Nope. Walk up to three. Nope. Walk a bit faster up to Four. Nope. Kind of trot back down to Field Two. Feeling a little bit anxious... but not too bad. Ask a mother there "Have you seen Max?" Nope.

See Johnny's mom - she doesn't know where they are, either. Ok, so now I'm starting to get a wee bit more.... agitated. Then Johnny's brother yells: 'There they are!" On the bottom of Field One - just out of sight... there they were.

My melodious voice wafted down to Max.... could he please excuse himself from the game and come up to talk to me for a moment? (Translation: Max!!! Maxwell! You get yourself up here RIGHTTHISVERYMOMENTQUICKQUICKNOW!!!!)

I was angry. He explained that people came on the field, so they went to the other one. I told him I understood why - but that I told him to stay on Field Two - and if he had to leave he HAD TO TELL ME.

I made him stick with me the rest of the night & we talked about it again later. He got it. And really, it was ok - it was in a controlled environment & was (as much as I hate to use this term) a learning experience.

And you know, the whole time I just kept thinking "If he had a cell phone I could just call him!" But immediately chastised myself for even THINKING about getting an eight year old a cell phone!! Also, J always tells me that it's worse when they have the phones... because they never answer! Imagine how nerve wracking that is!!! Where is he?!? In a ditch?!? Why isn't he answering?!?! It's pretty much a no win.

Oh man. This letting them go thing.... At least I have the bubble wrap ready for once they start driving....
(It was foggy for the first day. We got a little.... lost on the grounds. Oops. I was actually cracking up - it was like something out of a bad horror movie: "Don't go that way! Don't go into the mist!!" But maybe you had to be there.)

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