He Walks Alone...or does he?

School is back in full swing and my boy is growing up! At eight years old, he carries a pretty heavy backpack full of books.  And he's at the age where just about everything seems to be embarrassing (especially when it comes to mom and dad).

So I decided that he was old/mature enough to walk to school by himself.  Had this been another decade, he might have been walking to school on his own for years.  I know I was when I was even younger than he is now.  I know that when I was in first grade (which would mean I was only six) I walked back and forth to school twice  a day (back in the dark, unenlightened ages we came home for lunch).  But those were different times. (I'm tempted to say simpler times, but was anything ever simple?)

I'll admit that I'm a clingy mom...a helicopter mom (in a good way!).  But I also know that I need my son to grow up and be independent.  (Which is one of the reasons I sent him to sleep away camp for a week this summer).  So I took the leap and asked him if he thought he was ready to walk to school by himself.  And he said yes.

Being the mom that I am, I didn't let him just walk off one day.  One morning I left the house about five minutes before he did and let his dad get him out the door.  I walked about a block and a half away and waited for him.  He knew I was going to meet him somewhere, but he didn't know where.  He had actually told me that I should meet him farther away, but again, I am that clingy, slightly paranoid mom.

The second day, I went to the first intersection where the crossing guard is.  I waited until I could see him coming up the hill and then hurried on to the next intersection (which also happens to be the street the school is on.)  Again, no problem.

The other day, I finally decided to let him go completely on his own.  Or so he thought....

Again, this mom just couldn't quite let go.

I left the house 20 minutes before he did to run an errand, which just happens to be part of the route he takes to school.  After I ran my errand, I started to walk back and stopped at the corner a block away from the first crossing guard.  The crossing guard knew I was there; he'd seen  me earlier and I'd told him I was running an errand.

I knew when my son was getting close to the corner because the guard crossed the street towards the corner my son would be on.  From the distance I watched them cross and as my son headed on towards school, the crossing guard waved to me letting me know that all was well.

By the time I got to the corner where my son had been, he was almost to the block the school was on.  I watched the next crossing guard, Frank ( who I wrote about previously: http://bfthsboringblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-tale-of-two-franks.html).  Frank talked to my son as he crossed him over to side of the street that the school is on.

Although I'm about to let my son walk to school alone, I know that he is truly not alone.  From this little experiment of letting my son go I have seen crossing guards in a new light.  Not only are they keeping my child (and yours) safe from traffic, they are looking out for their general well being.  And it's not just "my" guards.  My errand early yesterday morning too me past another guard, and I watched him too.  He was at an intersection that handles both grade school and middle school children.  And once they had crossed, he watched them go down the road.  Making sure that they continued to be safe.

I know too that when I decide to let my son walk home alone after school, not only will I have to let the teacher know.  (She will not let any child leave her care unless they is an approved person there to pick the child up OR if she has gotten a note saying that it was all right to let the child walk alone.)  I will also need to let my crossing guards know.  Because if they see a child walking alone, who doesn't usually do so, they KNOW it's a red flag.  (I've even seen Frank ready with his cell phone to call a parent to make sure it is truly all right for the child to be heading home alone.)

There is nothing in this world that can completely keep my child safe from harm. (Although I wish there was.)  But knowing that there are crossing guards out there, watching not just the traffic, but the children of my town, makes it a little easier to let my son go.


Popular posts from this blog

Not Guilty

Please Don't Ask Me...