Giant step yesterday on the 10-year-old front. Henry and his best friend Gavin* biked home from camp by themselves. To those of you without kids: this is a big thing.
Camp gets out at 11:30 am (as usual ignoring working parents' schedules), at which time I'm down at the Museum and don't feel like driving 10 miles back to town to ferry them a half mile home. So after I installed and loaded the new bike carrier, we rehearsed using the bike lock (with eyerolls and sighs) and I left them to find their own way home. They had their helmets, the lock, water bottles, jackets and $20 to get them through a week of junk food at 7-11. Then, of course, they got to stay home without adult supervision til I returned at 5:30.
The first time they stayed alone during the day the house was covered in spilled cereal, sticky ice cream dishes, various unmatched shoes and socks, squirt guns, video game boxes and random plastic legos that hurt like a bitch when you step on them. With the threat of a babysitter looming, they've been working on clean-up and are actually starting to catch on.
I wrestle with bad-mommy guilt over leaving them alone, never mind letting them roam the westside on their bikes. Being in a smaller, safe, family-friendly town helps. But still. I've watched too many "Law and Order" episodes to feel really comfortable. Maybe it's the natural progression toward independence or maybe they'll soon be smoking cigarettes behind the 7-11 (or maybe both). There's no manual for single moms. All we can do is make lists, check in frequently and trust in the goodness of the universe.
*Gavin is staying with us for a few weeks.
I was feeling pretty independent myself, having researched, procured, assembled and mounted the bike carrier on the car. Another episode in the endless series of "Girls Can Do It!"