Last week I let Sena and Gus do something I never have before; I let them stay at the playground by themselves and walk home together. We were on vacation in a place only accessible by ferry. There were four other kids there, unattended locals. The walk home is short, and the road isn't busy.
And it was terrifying
And it was necessary.
There aren't many places I would leave my kids alone; the schoolyard playground in Ocracoke happens to be one of them, and I think it was really important to let them do it. I think that they need to learn to look and listen. They need to think about making decisions They need moments when I'm not standing right over their little shoulders, reminding them to look both ways, to share, to get down from there.
About 15 minutes into their alone time, I wanted to go check on them. My mom convinced me to give them a bit longer. When I did finally go check on them, they were walking through the "short cut" in the trees. I hid and scared them as best I could when they came out in the clearing. Gus was disappointed that they didn't get to walk back by themselves, so I told them to go back to the playground for a few minutes while I walked home by myself. A few minutes after I got back, I heard them coming down the road, hand in hand, happy as can be about their new found freedom.