This morning my husband needed to talk to one of his co-workers who lives around the corner, and who has two sons slightly older than Alexander. My husband and Alexander rode their bikes around the corner to go and talk and hang out. After an hour, my husband came home and Alexander stayed and played.
I had lunch alone, Jane went to a friend’s house, my husband played tennis, and then I collected the kids. All told my two kids were gone for about two and a half hours.
The afternoon was fun, we checked out Guitar Center’s new teaching facility, went to Vromans, hung out with friends, and then we went to Versailles for dinner. At dinner, as usual we talked to the kids about their days. Here’s how it went:
MR. G: Alexander, what did you do after I left you at our friend’s house?
ALEXANDER: Well, we played basketball inside the livingroom.
MR. G: Oh, do you think Mom would let you do that at our house?[I shudder]
ALEXANDER AND JANE: Noooooooo Jinx you owe me a coke.
MR. G: What did you do after that?
ALEXANDER: I rode my bike, the girl rode her bike and the three boys rode skateboards.
MR. G: And then?
ALEXANDER: One of the boys spilled Jamba Juice on himself because he was skateboarding with a Jamba Juice in his pocket.
MR. G: Who took you to Jamba Juice.
ALEXANDER: We just went.
And then the table was quiet, because we all know that Jamba Juice is about a mile from home and getting there means crossing two major boulevards. Five lanes, to be exact.
My husband paid close attention to his plate and muttered, “I’m not sure how I feel about this.”
Alexander wiseley amped up the sweetness and explained that there were five of them, he was in the middle and they crossed the street just fine.
Inside my head I’m screaming: he did it! My little boy crossed the big boulevard! I knew they could do it. I knew I taught them how. Naturally, I said nothing aloud. These parenting moments must be consensus, and sitting at the the table is not the time for the kids to think that their parents might not agree.
There’s a twinkle in my eye, Alexander is sitting up a bit taller, and Jane is waffling. She’s clearly annoyed that at 11 she’s not been allowed to cross the boulevard, yet she wisely sees that she’s ThisClose to being allowed to go an extra mile on her own.
We all pretend to care about some other topic, when slowly, like the sun rising, my husband lifts his head from his plate.
Well, I guess the kids are allowed to go to Jamba Juice now. I guess we’ve been overprotective.
Alexander, Jane and I exhaled. I beamed. Today was a big day.