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.

“Friends”

I’ve noticed something. When Butter talks about people at school, he doesn’t say classmates. He doesn’t say kids. He says friends.

Apparently this is a thing now?

It bugs me, because we had a problem last month where Butter climbed in to bed with us & when we told him to get up & get ready for school, he said he couldn’t. Over & over & over he told us, “I can’t!” The entire situation ended up with him being in trouble because he just. wasn’t. listening. While he got dressed, I sat down on his floor & talked to him.

He didn’t want to go to school because “friends” are laughing at him. When I asked him to name the friends he said he couldn’t, because he didn’t know their names. Both M & I explained to him that if he doesn’t know their names, they’re not friends. As the Paul said in the Bible (glaringly paraphrased, by the way), we don’t need to be a friend to everyone, but we do need to be friendly to everyone.

I get it. The schools need to be P.C. because we live in a litigious society. At what cost, though? My child thinks everyone in his school is a friend, when in the glaring reality of the world that is so not true. Is everyone Butter’s friend? Nope. Should he friendly to everyone anyway? Absolutely.

There are days when I long for what school was like when I was a kid. When we didn’t get in trouble for playing cops & robbers on the playground, when I’d never heard the term cross-cross-applesauce [let's be real, that one took me a WHILE to figure out], & when not everyone was my friend & that was perfectly freaking okay.

Remember When This Was Fun?

Growing up in Pennsylvania, there were two words that always made me happy.

Snow day.

Snow days were awesome when I was a kid. No school without being sick? License to go out & play in ALL THE SNOW for hours on end? Watching Bob Barker without the added pressures of a blanket & a bucket? SOLD. Man, those were the days.

Now a snow day for the kids means who will watch the kids & can I get to work without fear of sliding into a ditch & what if one kid has school but the other one doesn’t? Those were my very serious fears last night when we went to bed. Okay, minus the one about whether one kid had school or not. We got a robocall from Butter’s school & an email from Bear’s. It was all good.

The snow was fine. Except the part where it took me an hour to get home from church yesterday. I think I heard today that something like 4 inches fell up our way in an hour & a half or so. [Dear Husband, Remember that time we agreed we didn't really need four wheel drive? Ahahahahaha.]

I am incredibly blessed to have jobs that are flexible, so I attended half a meeting today, met my father in law for lunch, then took the boys to see Frozen.

Maybe snow days still don’t totally suck.