I Can Watch My Brother

It started simply enough.

Last Saturday, we had karate & then some errands. I told the boys what we were doing & they seemed okay with it. But Butter does this thing where he gets into the car & wants to read ALL THE THINGS. I pretend to be annoyed by it, but in reality, I love being Mom to a bookworm. One of the errands we had to run was going to the post office. It’s not too far from the karate school – when I was a little girl, most parents wouldn’t have even bothered to strap their kids into the car, that’s how close they are to each other.

But I’m not that parent. I strapped the boys into the car, explained that they shouldn’t get too comfortable because we’d be there in less than two minutes, and headed to mail a few letters. When I parked & opened the door to get Bear out, Butter said to me, “You can run in & mail your letters. I can watch my brother.”

My heart jumped into my throat. I had just read this article & tried gently to explain to Butter what happened to that mom. I told him that she could have gone to jail, all because her little boy told her he didn’t want to go into the store & she made a split second decision to just run her errand. My child has the most sensitive soul ever & teared up. He didn’t want me to go to jail. I told him I didn’t want to either.

We live in a much different world than when I grew up. I can remember staying in the car while my parents ran errands. I had a book, I had windows down, sometimes I had the radio on. It wasn’t something people thought twice about. Then again, I can remember being allowed to walk down to the corner store when I stayed with my grandma with her neighbor’s daughter to buy cigarettes for her mom, so there’s that.

It bothers me that we live in a world where people live in such fear. I don’t like that I don’t feel comfortable letting my kids run around outside without having at least an ear on them because we live on a road where people regularly speed. AND we’re close to the stop sign that marks the end of said road. That being said, I usually never let them in the front yard because all it takes is one thing. A ball that rolls out into the street, a feather that they’re chasing, a rock they want to kick just a little farther. So they’re generally restricted to the back yard, where they have a play set & a deck with an awning that protects them from the worst of the sun or lets them play outside when it’s raining.

So, yes, Butter, I know you are the best big brother ever & are more than capable of keeping an eye on your brother [especially while you’re out in the back yard], but no, I won’t let you stay in the car. Just like I won’t let you stay home while I run that errand to get yarn.

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