I’m not one to post pics of my kids on the blog, typically. But this kid–holy moly–he has put me through the wringer today. And when the end of the day came, I could’t help get a bit introspective. I’m not a helicopter parent, by a long shot. I like being able to hear my kids outside, but I don’t ever feel like I need to be right there “handling” things, resolving fights, or just making sure everyone’s playing nicely. I like the kids to learn a bit of autonomy, and I definitely want them to learn to fix their own problems. You’d be surprised at how conflict resolution happens when adults aren’t there to mediate.
All that being said, my little guy went missing today. We were all relaxing and hanging out at the house. Windows were open and sounds could be heard wafting in. Knowing my husband was downstairs and around and getting lunch, I slept for a wee bit–maybe 30 minutes. When I woke up, I took stock, went next door to check on the kids, as I knew my daughter was over there and assumed my little guy was too. But he wasn’t.
And that funny panicky feeling started in my chest. I looked through my house, every room and closet and even the bathrooms. Back outside, I started calling for him, thinking he might have gone to play with another neighbor friend. My friend across the street started helping right away. And I started knocking on doors. I was freaking out about the “back to [fucking] nature” area behind the houses. What if he’d decided to take a hike? It seemed unlikely, he hadn’t been one to wander off so far, but there was just no guarantee!! This might have been his first time. I went back in the house and looked again–every closet and every corner. Outside, my circle grew…and another neighbor guy joined in.
Until about twenty minutes later, I knew I was going to have to go back to the house. I needed to call the police. Walking back, I continued calling his name, but by the time, I got back to my street, my voice was silent. My friends, next door and across the street, were standing in the street. And then my husband walked out of our house.
“I found him. He’s under Virginia’s bed, sound asleep.”
I cried. In the street.
I’m not a helicopter parent. But for the first time in a long time, as this day ends, I keep seeing the “unconcerned” people from the other next door. They’re new to the neighborhood so maybe that’s why they just sat out back while I frantically searched. There was a funny feeling in my gut, though. One I’d never had before…
They were judging me.
It felt like it.
And though I’m still not going to be a helicopter parent, I’ll probably be a sheep dog parent for a while, circling around.