I have to share with you what I observed on Friday and the revelation that it brought me to….
On Friday evening the local high school (where my kids will attend in a few years) was having a big home game. I had encouraged my son to go because they wanted all the future football players to be present on the crowd. After a long week of games and homework…he wasn’t having any of that so my tired kiddo stayed home. However…I had already bought the tickets so I decided to take my daughter who was very eager to go. I thought this was strange because my daughter could really care less about football.
We get to the game and shortly after sitting down a “young man” with semi-baggy short, a faux hawk and some funny looking plastic glasses (given to the kids at a party earlier in the day) seems very interested in sitting next to my daughter. Amber quickly brushes me off and they go to sit together on the bench in front of us. I just looked over at my mom and mouthed the words “Here we go…” with an eye roll. Obviously she must’ve planned this with her “friend” from school because we could see he was expecting her to be there. Now I can see where tis new found interest in football had come from!
My daughter is not even 12 yet….her father and I have warned her that there will NOT be any dating before at least 16 so she should just forget the word “boyfriend” until then. It seems that kids are SO advanced these days. she told me….”well, his parents let him date.” I thought…oh sure…that’s just wonderful. As I’m trying to enjoy the few “innocent” years my daughter has left….I’m being rushed because she tries to act so much older than she is. I look back to when I was that age and things then were so different. I think I was still playing with barbies, care bears and pound puppies (showing my age) when I was 11.
My daughter was very upset with me because I wouldn’t let her hang out under the bleachers with other kids her age during the game. Let me explain this to you – it was very crowded with adults and kids alike…no security there and even though we live in a nice area, it doesn’t mean predators aren’t hanging out in places like this to find their next victim. Am I crazy? Halfway into the 2nd quarter I needed to use the restroom and was shocked to find how many kids…most looked even younger than middle school…were running around down there by themselves. Where are their parents??? I thought. Anyone could grab any kid at any moment and no one would be the wiser. Predators are smart….they are calculating and they know how not to get caught.
Then, on Saturday night I brought my son and his friend to the movie theater. I drove them and dropped them off right in front, and watched them go in. When the movie was over I pulled up to the door early and waited for them to come out. As I’m sitting there I see a group of really, really young kids….maybe 8-10 years old with NO adults to be seen. They were waiting to be picked up. It was almost 11pm at night and they are just hanging outside the theater. It amazes me that parents let their kids do this. Don’t they realize anything could happen?
This is when the revelation occurred to me. I have become my mother. My mom was very protective of me as a child and even a bit paranoid….she still is. But, you know….I was always safe and I think I had a good upbringing because of it. My kids might hate me now for all the times I say NO when their friends’ parents say yes but they will thank me when they are older and wiser.
In the meantime I’m going to try not to watch so much CSI reruns….