Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Letting Go

We needed to return some dvd's today. I thought J-Man wouldn't be keen to walk, and I am trying not to use the car unless we really have to. (The video shop is about a 5 minute brisk walk from our home, 10 if we want to dawdle).

It suddenly occurred to me that he might like to go by himself. It surprised me that I hadn't thought of that before...he's almost 9 1/2.

I can't remember being 9, but I think I walked to school with a few neigbours from when I was 5 years old. The eldest of the bunch of us was not more than 2 years older than me. It was not "5 miles away", and I didn't "walk barefoot in the snow"...but it was a pretty long way now that I think of it. It was across loads of streets, 2 of which were very busy.

But I digress.

The main reason I hadn't considered sending my baby out on his own is that we live in one of the worst parts of Auckland. 3 people have been murdered in this general area in the last couple of weeks. It's not a place I particularly feel safe in. That has made a difference to my willingness to let go.

But today I thought he might enjoy some time alone. He might enjoy being thought of as responsible and mature (which he is). If he could be back before 3pm when the (piles of) school-kids (with rarely a parent in sight) were set free, I thought it just might work.

I asked J-Man if he would like to walk to the videoshop to return our dvd's. He thought he would like was more of a "Hell yes!" response really and I wondered if I had held back just a tad too long.

I would never have thought I was molly-coddling him, as people are so quick to accuse homeschoolers of. Surely I haven't been?

Anyway- it was decided- he would take the movies back...first he would have to get dressed, lol. And that meant I could carry on doing the things I was doing, and didn't have to dress Tombliboo (who doesn't really like to wear clothing). I could stay in my fluffy pink slippers! (Not that I haven't seen slipper-clad women at hte supermarket on numerous occasions).

Then I was thrown for a loop...

"Can I take Princess?"

Eeek! What's that you said? You want to take my 5 year old with you on this adventure?

2 very eager little faces...there was only one response.

"Of course Darling."

I've never seen them get dressed so fast.

They found a bag to put the dvd's in, and checked each box to make sure the discs hadn't disappeared. I gave them $1 each to buy something at the dairy, and $1 to buy me something chocolatey.

They kissed their baby brother and I goodbye, and were on their way. J-Man turned to wave to Tombliboo and I (on the porch, looking for all the world as though we were parting for a week), and called out, "Have fun without us."

I called back only half-joking, "I won't! I'll be worried about you, and missing you."

He laughed...silly old mum.

They got back before school was out- it had been an uneventful, and yet exciting walk. They gave me a quick hug and carried on with their lives. Evidently it was no big deal (for them).

It feels kind of strange in way that this sort of thing could be acceptable, could even be a regular thing, could add to their friendship and give them even more to talk about. It feels kinda strange, but kinda nice as well.


Colleen said...

It's hard to let go isn't it? We have similar issues here--living in L.A. And Jerry doesn't actually feel ready to go too far on his own. I keep trying to get him to walk down to the grocery store or ice cream shop. He'll go with a friend but not alone. When we were in Rotorua the older boy of the family we stayed with rode his bike to the video store and I was so envious that there are places in the world where kids can do that! But then I got to thinking that we live where we live. And Jerry needs to learn to navigate it (dangers and all), so I'm trying little by little to get him out on his own.

Stephanie said...

Exciting and scary all at once!
I haven't been in this position yet.

Sissie said...

What a beautiful, loving moment.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog via your Unschooling Discussion post, and I enjoyed your post about letting go. My daughter also was eager to venture out on her own. I said yes, like you, despite the twinges of panic in my stomach, and it was a great gift to her. She's fourteen now, and she still goes out for walks alone. She loves that time of peace and solitude.

Anonymous said...

this is so very cool- my girls are 5 and 3 and I keep thinking the one would be off to school if we schooled and I had to let them out the door- scary but they take such care of each other