(Monkey boy 7 years old, Bear 4 years old, The Princess 16 months old with their mom “M”)
I asked Tristan if his mother & father knew where he was and if he was allowed inside other people’s homes. He answered, “My mom doesn’t live with me, she lives in a motel. My dad’s home & he doesn’t care if I go in kid’s houses”. I was surprised with his answer and asked him to phone home and tell his father where he was. He rang his father and explained which house is ours and gave him our phone number. This was at about 6 pm. The babies played nonstop and had a wonderful time. At 8:30 pm I told Tristan I was going to drive him home. He asked if he could phone his father to ask if he could stay a bit longer. “Sure” I replied as Monkey Boy pleaded “say yes, say yes”. The boys picked up on their game of Hide and Seek and the fun, running and hollering resumed. All the while NY and I were wondering how a child so young could be out so late in the home of people his dad had never met. You see, Tristan is only 8 years old as of August 5th. It was at that moment that I told NY, “Monkey Boy will never play at Tristan’s house. I’m afraid there isn’t any supervision from a responsible adult”. At this point while playing with the babies we loss track of time and before we knew it M was back from the theater to pick up the babies. She was flabbergasted to say the least when she saw that Tristan was still with us as it was almost 10pm. My feelings were, as long as his dad knows where he is, Tristan is safer at our house than roaming the neighborhood. As we were helping Mindi out to the car the phone rang and surprisingly it was Tristan’s mother. NY told her Mindi was going to drop Tristan off at his house as we didn’t want him out in the dark. While the babies were loading up in the truck (B was asleep) Tristan’s mother drove up and he jumped in her car and they drove away. I was totally shocked. She didn’t introduce herself, she obviously didn’t care to meet us and I had to wonder if Tristan should be going with her since she didn’t live with him. NY quickly phoned Tristan’s father and simply stated, “Tristan’s mother just picked him up”. His father said they were driving up at that very moment and didn’t seem concerned and with that…we weren’t either. Of course Monkey Boy thought Tristan was the luckiest kid on the planet because of all the freedom he was granted. I on the other had didn’t think the freedom was granted as a gift but instead thought perhaps everyone at Tristan’s house were wrapped up in their own world and were fine with him under someone else’s care. Now, everything turned out fine and Tristan is neither my grandson nor my responsibility so why am I blogging on this event and why am I so concerned? One of the reasons Monkey Boy envied Tristan is…I won’t let the babies play in the front yard unless NY or myself are out front with them.
I think it’s interesting this happened the same day I received the following email.
1951 My sisters, Diana age 9 and Mary age 7
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking. As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
1957 My earliest childhood memories are being tied to a tree.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because, we were always outside playing!
1958 Along the road from Muskegon, Michigan to San Diego, California.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day and we were okay. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have PlayStation, Nintendo, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computer! s, no Internet or chat rooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt and the worms did not live in us forever. We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not poke out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them!
1960 San Diego, California 5 years old
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned…How to deal with it all! Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?