Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free-Range Mama in Training

Izzy wasn't feeling well this morning so my hectic Tuesday turned into a very relaxing day. I spent some time reading some articles on sites that I haven't been to in a while. One of them was FreeRangeKids and it reminded me of a recent situation.

I signed Izzy back up for dance at the Y. They have a pretty terrific schedule during the week. In theory, I could drop Izzy off for 45 minutes of dance and then a volunteer would come collect her from the studio and bring her (and the other kids) to the big gym to play for an hour. Alternately, Alex spends 45 minutes in the gym and then can come to dance for an hour. Now Izzy is still coping with some separation anxiety so I have to stay for dance and we skip gym altogether - hence the leaving her in theory part.

Last time we were there we were running in a bit late. I took both kids to the dance room to make sure Izzy was on time. Then I was struck with a dilemma. I couldn't leave her while I signed Alex in at the other side of the building and taking her with us defeated the purpose of running in to get her there on time. I looked at Alex and asked him if he was okay getting himself there. Sure! He was thrilled. Heck, he was half was out the door without me before I even asked.

I gave him his card and told him to ask the guy with the clipboard (the one we parents use to sign our kids in and out) to hold it for him. Then away he went.

As I sat watching Izzy I started asking myself, will I get in trouble for sending him without signing him in? Did he make it there alright? Did he tell the supervisor why his negligent mother wasn't there to drop him off? I could see the exit from where I was sitting in Izzy's room and started noticing how busy the place was. I saw that he could have easily slipped passed me and out the front door. Then years of exposure to CNN and Law and Order started these niggling little thoughts that were hard to quash. The what ifs... We all know what they are. The usual horror and fear about kidnapping and molestation. So this bad thought would pop into my head, my heart would race a little and I began fidgeting in my seat. Then I would reason it right back out. Sure, something bad could have be happening but it was extremely unlikely. I kept resisting the urge to grab Izzy and run down the hall just to make sure he was okay.

My boy will be 7 in a couple of weeks. He is pretty tall for his age. Looks much older. I trust him. In general, I trust humanity too. It is humbling though - this feeling of not being in control.

At the end of dance class, this very large, male volunteer coach came into the room with Alex and a few other kids. The boy was red-faced, sweaty and grinning like a fool. He had just spent the past 45 minutes running and playing. It was no big deal for him. This "incident" at the Y seemed out of the ordinary to me. A moment I will probably remember for a very long time. If it happens again though, I will be much more relaxed. I have learned that the hard part is trusting everything to be okay. When it is okay then the next time it gets easier.

Fear. It is the most insidious predator parents face. Unfortunately I feel it is a battle I will be fighting for a very long time.

1 comment:

Kez said...

It really is hard, isn't it? I know all the thoughts that were going through your head!!!