“It’s not fair,” is the cry I get from my daughter when I repeatedly deny her permission to walk to school by herself. Her friends do it, she tells me. I’m tempted to ask her If your friends jumped off a bridge… No actually, I’m not tempted to ask her that, because that was always stupid.
“Your friends parents don’t love their kids as much as I love you,” is what I might say. (It’s what I did tell my sons when I made them strap themselves into booster seats while their friends’ parents let their kids roll around in the front seats of sports cars.) But that’s not nice and despite what I perceived as evidence, even possibly untrue. Instead, I tell her that her friends who walk live way closer to the school than she does, which is true.
Then my daughter pulls out the big guns. “My brothers get to walk!”
Yep. They do. They walk about as far as she would have to—four blocks to their bus stop and then another two blocks when they get off the bus near their school.
Her older twin brothers are also six-foot-two black belts in Taekwondo. And to borrow from the Winklevii, there’s two of them. My daughter is petite and beautiful and I don’t give a crap how much she begs and whines and cries, or how much easier it would make my days, this is the big city and SHE CAN’T WALK TO SCHOOL ALONE. Unless I’m out of town and my husband lets her. Which makes me crazy! (or crazier, I should say) Now, my husband does follow her in the car, unbeknownst to my daughter (Look! I just used unbeknownst in a sentence!) but this is not helping anything. If he really thought she was safe, would he feel the need to follow? And it only gets her more cross with me.
Haven’t they heard the horrible Etan Patz story? Don’t they read today’s news? My daughter has the whole rest of her life to be a woman walking alone, assessing each person that walks by, looking over her shoulder on a dark side street, clearing the area after she parks her car, or approaches her car or any of the other myriad situations she might find herself in. Today, I still have the ability protect her to the very best of my ability.
Earlier this week there was an attempted abduction right outside my daughter’s school. A van. A man in a ski mask. The whole horrific ripped-from-the-headlines situation playing out right in our proverbial backyard. Sure, we’ve revisited the “stranger danger” discussion and I’ve been given a temporary reprieve from the begging and whining—she’s been happily accepting her rides to and from school this week. But when it comes to proving my argument in favor of NOT letting my daughter walk to school alone, this is one event that I really could have done without.
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