Monday, May 05, 2008
Be Alert Not Alarmed
I've never been a super protective parent. I let mine potch in mud, climb trees, mountain bike on building sites. They fought with sticks and plonked in puddles, ate fruit off the vine unwashed and they did OK . . .but we have a simple rule . . let me know where you're going, who you're with and what time you'll be home . . . surprisingly they do. Even ClareBear on her way to Las Vegas, checks in once or twice a week and DrummerBoy has finally got into the habit of messaging me if he's not coming home (that's been a long road, I can tell you).
I've never been an annoyingly over-protective parent the 'turn up at school to make sure you have your lunch' type. In fact I actually forgot to pick my son up on his first day of school which finished at 12:00 . . his Kindy teacher had to buy him a pie while I sped from work to pick him up! But I've always warned my kids that it 'can happen'to you.' I've made them aware of stranger danger, traffic rules and kept a close eye on them when they were young, cautioned them as new drivers and tried so, so, hard to keep them safe.
Over the weekend 6 young people in Sydney lost their lives by stealing a boat and joy riding on the harbour. Well lubricated after a night in lovely Balmain, they stole a boat and smashed the bejeezus out of it by running into a trawler. I don't know if you've ever seen a trawler but they have massive steel weights on either side to ballast the nets and are the equivalent of a four wheel drive against a mini on the water. Six now dead, two smashed up in hospital and two families standing vigil at their children's bedside their ages ranged from 18 to 30. It's the same mentality held by younglings when taking risks in cars. Just around the corner . .nobody will know . . .I'll ride my bike or skateboard home after a big night of inebriation. . .or by their elders . ."I'll take the back road after a skinful."
Death has been a frequent visitor to my life. My mother killed when my father swerved to avoid . . wait for it . . a murderer escaping from dumping the body and causing an accident as an alibi . . random . . I don't think so . .he wasn't to know that due to a bout of TB during her early nursing years, she had only one lobe of lung. Or my husband waking up one morning and just 'not feeling well' then dropping dead in the hallway, or my Aunt being admitted to hospital for a blood clot in her leg and never coming home . . or the Henning family losing a daughter, son and nephew because a corner at Bulladelah was taken too fast by a driver too young and a car full of siblings, happy holiday revellers (sober I might add) . . . lost all their lives. Two families lost all their children. Or a friend of Adam's killing a wayward pedestrian on a dark night . . not his fault but the guilt will live with him forever . . . I'm not sure of my point but 'it can happen to you' sometimes you can't stop it, sometimes it is just a weird accident but for goodness sake, be careful . . . be in well lit places, don't tempt fate. Drive safely and soberly. You can't wrap your kids in cotton wool and expect them to mature into decent adults but parenting is hard, one of the hardest yet most fulfilling things I've ever done.
Teach your children to have healthy level of mistrust but not paranoia and encourage them not to become complacent . . learn a martial art that will give you the value of defense . . .Girls needn't worry because a handbag will do the trick! It's a hazardous world out there.
Mood . . .dispairing . . being a parent is bloody hard. Nobody gave me the rule book. Can I take my "L" plates off now?