For his 10th birthday, my son received a shiny new
Days later, having tired of riding his bike just around the
block, he asked me politely, "Mom, can
I puuulllleeeeezeeee ride my bike to the corner
store?" (which is about five blocks from our sweet home in
I paused, not knowing what to answer. First came
the irrational thoughts - have you ever checked out the Illinois Sex Offender website and mapped your
area? Yeah. Then came the more rational thoughts: My son is street
smart, knows our neighborhood on the back of his hand - we've
walked it together so many times. There are a number of "safe"
homes on every block he'd pass, neighbors we know. He's got a cell
phone, so he can always call me if he runs into trouble. He's well
versed in stranger danger.
"Go ahead," I said nonchalantly, "Take two bucks from my
wallet." He was all smiles and excited and ran out while I
wondered, "Am I crazy?" But somehow, I managed to let my
worries, and him, go. The baby was napping so I took a bubble bath,
promising myself that I wouldn't waste time running scary scenarios
through my mind.
Since then, he's branched out a bit and sometimes - brace
yourself - rides his bike or walks to the park, to play soccer with
his friends in an alley a few blocks away, or, even....to Dunkin'
Donuts. He knows never to cross any of the big streets, and he
knows what to do in case of emergency. In return, he's turning into
a confident, very trustworthy little man.
God knows I love my son more than anything and would really
prefer to keep him wrapped up in bubble wrap and next to me 24/7 -
but a mom's gotta let go, right? I want nothing more than
for him to go confidently into this world,
knowing knowing that there is more good than bad out
Looking for some support while you too work "to raise smart,
self-reliant kids without going nuts with worry"? Check
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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