Friday, August 31, 2012

Midlife Crisis?

There I was, just finishing up my daily dose of fiction via on-demand TV and the theme music from Friends catches my ear. When was this on? Checking the air date I see it was 1999. My brain starts spinning...birth of Boy, move back to Sunnyville, career.

Jeez, I wasn't doing anything the friends were keeping busy with, though I was near the depicted age. Was I missing out? Is there some neccessary rite I neglected? Images of my first apartment, various jobs and activities flicker by.

In the quiet of my home I consider my sleeping family. From Hubby to Teen to Baby K...

Nope. Nothing missed in my life.

A midlife reflection in the space of a theme song.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stranger (Danger) the Second Time Around

From parents, school, and TV it is poured into their brains "Stranger Danger." And we skip through life thinking we have this covered: never talk to a stranger, back away from cars that stop, run to a house, the list goes on. Like any other family living in this century we have preached talked to our children, granted it had been lacking urgency but the conversation had arisen a time or fifty.

So imagine my horror when Youngest and a friend actually turned toward a strange car that had stopped on the street in front of the house. Luckily we grown-ups were sitting on the porch and one dad jumped out shouting, "Hey! Back up!" as he walked toward the vehicle harboring a quite-elderly gentleman who was offering up a stuffed poodle. Some respectfully irritated words were spoken and the man drove off. Police were notified and went to reaffirm that offering toys to children is unacceptable behavior.

We - the collective of neighbors - had many intense words with the kids about strangers. Again. Many months passed, we kept our children without incident. Then the man came back.

Just yesterday while at work I received a call. The kids were running through a sprinkler in the yard of a neighbor and a car which had cruised down the street at least 2 times previously stopped in front of said house. Youngest proudly reported, "I didn't even look back after I saw him. I ran straight for ---'s front door." In fact all three children hustled inside, herded by the 12 year-old next door and as soon as the man drove off, they ran across the street to a parent's house to report the incident.

It turns-out Teen and a neighbor had noticed the car a day previously and took video of his car and license plate. The police were called and he was arrested from his car which according to a witness had many toys lying on the front seat...for loitering...since he didn't actually have opportunity to talk to any of the kids.

We are thrilled that given a second chance all kids did all things right (except Teen and Boy who didn't even tell us about a suspicious car let alone that they filmed it! - that has been dealt with) But, sadly we do not live in a world where second chances are the norm. To my greatest relief, in this case they did.

So, the kids got lots of positive reinforcement - they even all rode in the police car to identify the car/man. Then we began walking the narrow tightrope of reinforcing vigilance without fear... A difficult line to be sure.