I Felt So Free

July 16, 2008

Twenty-one acres of wide open space, blanketed by a cloudless, blue sky. Meticulously manicured lawns totaling 330,000 square feet of grass. Six hundred and eighty six engraved bricks to peruse. Walking around alone amongst all this greatness under the (only) watchful eye(s) of the five Olympic Rings. Yeah. I would’ve felt so free too. Then again, I’m not 11. What the lol?

Allow me to explain. Last weekend, Daughter got a chance to hang with her girls at a sleepover. Cool. Now, I understand that people raise their children differently…what happens in one house may not happen in another, and vice versa. I consider myself to be a pretty groovy Mama…I try not to smother, be overprotective (sometimes this is solely my opinion lol), and daughter is still at that st(age) where she tells me everything. Super cool.

Getting my usual update on sleepover events really took a sistah back…

D: “Well, ok, we went to see Hancock, and then we jumped another movie and saw about half of it.”
Me: “Wow, so you guys left one movie, and walked into another one?”
D: “Yeah, but we didn’t see all of it…we had to go.”
Me: “Wow, so where was Ms. Mom when you guys were jumping movies?”
D: “Oh, she was in another movie.”
Me: {staying calm lol} “Wow, so you 3 girls were in the movie by yourselves, huh?”
D: “Yep. And then we went back to the house. At first Mama, I didn’t believe her, but she said honest to God…she’s not playing…you can ask my parents yourself. And then me and {the other guest} said our Mamas would have a fit!”
Me: “About what? I don’t get it.”
D: “Well, her parents told us we could walk across the street and go to the park.”
Me: “What street, what park?”
D: “Centennial Park. Ooh Ma, We went to the new playground, we walked around….we saw this homeless man looking at us….and we started to run, cos we don’t know him {laughing}”
Me: “Wow, so you 3 {11 and 12 year old} girls crossed the {a 5-lane, downtown ATL} street….and went to the park by yourselves, without any adult supervision. Wow, that must have been exciting, huh?” {heart pounding}
D: “Yeah. I felt so free.”

Huh? You know, I’m all for freedom, but where I’m from, too much freedom in the hands of an 11 year old can really spell trouble. Not that Daughter can’t be trusted — it’s SOCIETY I don’t trust. Last I checked, we live in a different day and time. The freaks come out at night, AND in the day, now. I’ve had some people tell me that I’m overprotective, or I overparent….because of my own experiences. An older dear friend said, “you think you’re protecting them, but you’re actually hurting them….living through them, trying to make up for something you missed.” Did I agree with her? No, not wholeheartedly. I’d rather hurt my kids by ensuring their safety (from negative emotional, mental, or physical influence) than to be labeled a cool, free-spirited, chilled-out parent. Think about it. What could Ms. Mom tell me if I had called her, “Umm, me and hubby just so happened to be strolling by the park and saw Daugher…arra, where are you?” According to daughter, “Oh, her parents were sleep while we were at the park.” Lawd have mercy lol. And is movie hopping something I want to teach my daughter?

Hubby and I have talked about this at length, and we’re on the same page. How would you have reacted parents? How free are you with your kids and the need for adult supervision? What age did you really loosen the apron strings? After some experiences my kids have had with people outside the fam…if they’re cool with the loose apron knots, so am I.

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8 Responses to “I Felt So Free”

  1. amzolt Says:

    My opinion:

    Extremely good she trusts you enough to have told you!

    Very bad when and when she was!

    I would research young girls being kidnapped and raped and show it to her!!

    ~ Alex

  2. ashe.selah Says:

    Alex, I think any parent with a pre-teen who trusts them enough to spill it must be doing a few things right *smile*. I did tell her I’m glad they had fun, came home safe and sound, but that level of freedom in public won’t be happenin’ on the regular in our house just yet :).

    (Really wish I needed to research… )

  3. Sharon Says:

    I don’t have children – yet. But my growing up days are still fresh in my mind and my ma NEVER let me roam around alone… in the city. No ways! In fact, the general approach was to engage me at home.

    i don’t think you are being over protective at all. If your 11 year old can talk to you like that then you definitely can be categorized as cool. However, God has placed responsibility for your children in your hands. . . i don’t think it would be fun to say ‘Lord I let them run wild bcos so and so said I was over parenting’ LOL.
    Keep up the good work! You are a great mum!!

  4. ashe.selah Says:

    Hi, and welcome to ya, Sharon! Thanks for leaving your thoughts. My days growing up were the same…even when I got old enough (16ish) to go to the movies with a nice boy (from church lol), we were chaperoned with a cool older couple, say early twenties. Bottomline, the notion of open, supervisionLESS freedom didn’t exist LOL.

    You made a great point…being more of a people-pleaser than following your heart can lead to some disappointing places…and we arrive there without one good excuse in our hands *smile*.

    I appreciate the Mama cheer, girl…this is motherhood without a manual…just a heart for God and doin’ my best as I learn and grow as a parent…lifelong learning it tis :).

  5. Jaycee Says:

    When I do have kids, I feel like I’m going to want them to have adult supervision…at least until they’re 16. Don’t know if that’s being overprotective, but I don’t like the sound of 11 and 12 yr olds walking across a major road in ATL and going to a random park with no supervision…

    Thank God none of them got hurt from running away from the homeless man…lol…

  6. ashe.selah Says:

    Hey Jaycee! You’re gonna be such a wise Mama *smile*. If I know the girls, the homeless guy was probably as scared of them (gawking, running, making noise) as they were of him lol. I’m sure it made for a funny childhood memory :).

  7. Jewells Says:

    No kids yet, but when God blesses me, I plan to raise them by experience. My husband and I will tell of our experiences growing up and compare notes.

    I grew up on a pretty tight ship. Couldn’t talk to boys on the phone and all that other stuff. Of course I found ways around it. But I often wonder if I would not have been as promiscuous had I had more freedom. I just wanted to talk. So in my “adult” years there wasn’t any talking.

    I feel like my parents protected me in some ways and I thank them for that. But in other ways, I feel like I was held back because I had to play “catch up”.

    I kind of rambled out my thoughts. I say all of that to say that though it is good to protect your child, you have to learn to give them a teaspoon of life before someone gives them a whole cup and they don’t know how to swallow it.

    I hope you can understand where I am coming from.

  8. ashe.selah Says:

    Hey there Jewells..thx for sharing your thoughts, girl! You’re preparing an excellent parenting strategy. And I hear you loud and clear…Can you say balance? And therein lies the challenge of parenting…measuring the right amount of protection and freedom, lecture and action, discipline and talkin’ it out….

    Oddly enough, my Moms gave me freedom, I didn’t feel over-smothered, and I was still “fast” lol. I think even with the best of parenting, in the end, our kids have their own heart, their own lives to “work out”. We do our part, give them every jigsaw piece, then inevitably…they have to figure out this puzzle called Life for themselves. But we’ll always be there when they need us…and truthfully, sometimes when they don’t :).


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