My day starts about half an hour before I go to bed. Nine times out of ten, I am summoned by a tiny voice down the hall within an hour of putting my feet up. "Mommy!" she screams, "Open the door!"
Despite my habitual consumption of various sleep aids and a holier than thou approach to routines, I often find myself wide-eyed and (not so) bushy tailed, pacing the insides of my eyelids while raiding the fridge, before anyone else in the house has burned thru phase two of their sleep cycle. I'm not sure why I burden myself with the added torture of going to the gym, but I do... every other day... going on 18 years now. Though I've downscaled my workout from a former 2-3 hours daily (young and single overachiever), I feel quite confident that I could still keep up if I wanted to. Which brings me to my point...
On my "workout days," my alarm goes off at 4:50 am, giving me just enough time to get dressed, drive to the gym, do a quick 45 minute workout, hit up Starbucks, then rush home to shower & get Isla ready for school. Armed with an iPhone and an exhausted brain, I pass the time at by listening to The Bert Show here in Atlanta. The other day, the subject of trick-or-treating came up and I listened <eyes rolling> to some of the callers who allowed their kids to go it alone on this All Hallows Eve, without any supervision whatsoever. I'll admit, I'm a snob when it comes to southern accents and perhaps my prejudice got in the way of my perception, but I found myself wanting to punch the
redneck woman who called in saying she "didn't want to be one of those helicopter moms" by going with her kids (the youngest being 5) while they walked out into the night for two solid hours, collecting candy door-to-door.
I don't know when it changed; this world we live in, but it did... and when it did, it took a part of me right along with it. I was raised in a po-dunk town in anywhere, USA, in the same house that my mother grew up in. We knew every one of our neighbors and most of their friends and it wasn't unusual for each porch to display their own glistening dinner bell: a tell tale sign that the party was over for us kids. I don't remember when my father stopped taking us trick-or-treating, but I can tell you that I don't remember him ever taking us. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't, but rest assured, I had a costume on and got a shit-load of candy each year, that my mother would later weed thru before allowing us to polish off. "What are you doing?" I'd ask. "There are a lot of crazies out there, honey. I gotta check for pins!" she'd respond, with a warm glow from a Heath bar smudged against her chin.
Though I'm certain predators have always existed, they never seemed to have come to the surface back then. We played in the unfenced yards, walked up the street to buy bubble gum and performed our own Popsicle version of bar hopping amongst the dimly lit streetlights that led to our friends' homes. Never once had I ever heard the phrase, Stranger-Danger, much less get a lecture on the protocol for Halloween. I remember my mom telling me not to hop in a stranger’s car or take candy from them, but that was only in the mean streets of our mind, not in our actual neighborhood. I could play devils advocate and look at the positive aspects of allowing a child to have their independence, but the reality is that I don't want some whack-job to steal my kid and I'd rather be over-protective than right.
Like I said, I'm not sure how we got here or if we'll ever fully understand the dynamics behind society. Either media made us more aware of them, made them crave the spotlight more or created monsters out of knowledge. Who knows--but given everything I've seen, heard and read about the world we now live in, I'm not gonna roll the dice on daughters future... even if that makes me a helicopter mom.