10.07.2010

anxiety... not hover parent... but parental anxiety

a photo of Grant riding the ramp in the alley behind our house last spring

this morning came quite similar to the day before...

again... in the night my six year old son migrated from his bed to our bed
it happened without argument
it happened without argument because it happened in the dark of night while Lisa and I slept
had I been awake I would have objected
had Lisa been awake she would have invited him in
it happened without argument because it was not noticed and because this action does not concern Lisa

not sure why... all I know is I woke up with a six year old by my side this morning
was it a nightmare? had something gone "bump in the night?"
what caused this little monkey to move about the house in the dark of night to leave the comfort of his bed to cause discomfort in mine

it was more than likely out of habit than need
that habit was broken months ago... we must nip it before it becomes habit again
a habit that has been broken... restarted... then broken again since this little monkey came into this world
our little boy may be part boomerang

again... we woke with the same set of arguments
the arguments about getting out of bed
the arguments about what to wear
the arguments about moving along faster
all these arguments are with my six year old son
while my nine year old son is already dressed... fed himself... and is reading on his own waiting for the momentum to be such that we can all get in the car

we were a tad bit ahead of schedule versus the day prior
while still being behind schedule for arriving to school on time

six year old Grant assisted in making eggs
well... six year old Grant insisted on making eggs then assisted on making eggs
Grant at six is more interested in cooking than Dean at nine

Grant cracked the eggs then added the milk
I heated up the frying pan and poured the eggs into the pan after Grant mixed the eggs and milk
then Grant stirred the cooking eggs as I walked the dog
Grant may be more enthused by the process than the product
either way... he starts his day with a healthy meal

back in the house realizing we were running late I finished up the eggs then served the boys
Dean had already eaten but Grant enjoys cracking the eggs so much that there were enough eggs for more than himself... Dean had some and I had some... then our black dog Brutus got what Grant did not finish

while the boys ate I loaded the bikes into the car
there was hesitation about the bikes
then there was realization that there should not be consideration
ride when we can
winter will come and biking for the boys will be less of an option
a full time job will come and the post school bike ride will no longer be part of our day
do it while we can

we moved with the flurry of excitement that made Dagwood Bumstead famous
our families' blondie had already left out for work


a photo of Dean racing his bike at Wednesday at Wakefield this past summer

out the door with helmets on their heads and packs on their back we walked down the block to the car
as per usual cars sped excessively up and down our street
I coached the boys to get in the car and put on their seatbelts
I watched as the light at the top of the hill turned red and several cars progressed down the hill just the same
ah... no cop no stop... my blood boils when I see this sort of behavior
especially when it is on the block where I live... where my kids live and play

once in the car we get an actual handle on the time
the clocks in the house are set fast to get us out the door on time... this apparently is not working
in the car the clock on the radio shows that we are ten minutes later than we should be to arrive on time
well... if things are free and clear we can arrive on time
it is best to arrive a few minutes early

leaving late makes the cross town drive longer... that ten minutes later brings more traffic

sure enough... the queue at each light was longer
when we got to Reno Road things were backed up to a point where I had never seen them backed up before
in a semi sarcastic way I proposed riding from this point
the boys jumped on it

my sarcastic proposal became our course of action
I parked the car a distance further than I would feel comfortable walking
as I unloaded the car I coached the boys on their course of action
making complete stops at the corner... stopping and checking that it is free can clear
making sure that they see the cars and that the cars seem them

they listened... they always appear to listen
like an obedient dog staring into its owner's eyes
tilting the head at the right moment
remaining silent
all the while appearing to understand

older Dean was given the instruction to wait for his brother
to cross with his brother
to stay together as a team
Grant questioned... is this so if one of us dies... that we both die?
no... a chill went through my body as I internalized this collection of words
no... this is so that you are both safe... so that no one gets hit

then before I could get one more hug from each of my boys they were on the bikes
then before I could give them a turbo boost up the hill they were already on their way
I watched as they each hammered up this little hill
anxiously I watched as they drifted out of view

in the car I considered getting into the line of cars so that I could spot them on their ride
then I decided I would call the school when I got home
they were out of my hands
I did not cross my fingers... I did not pray
but I did worry

on the drive back home I saw that Connecticut Avenue was far less congested
again I considered heading to the school to check on their status
then decided that the phone call would be enough

giving the kids a little more lead on the parental leash can be tough
they are getting older
they need to start doing some more things with a little less guidance
cooking is one of these things... walking and riding their bikes outside my shadow is another

I got home and made a call
one of the women in the front office took a glance out the window to confirm that the bikes were locked up out front
I was releaved
they had arrived alive or at leas their bikes had

my actions were either award winning parenting or failed parenting
my frustration with the style of driving in the city all comes down to the simple safety of cyclists and pedestrians
the safety of strangers
and selfishly... the safety of my family
I hate the notion of the WORST CASE SCENARIO
that great big WHAT IF is more than I can get my head around

LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS announce bicycle friendly communities
www.bikeleague.org
YES MAGAZZINE: how to make bicycling mainstream
http://www.yesmagazine.org
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/

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