Corde made it through 8th grade, her 3rd year in public schools. While I’m not a fan of the public school system, I’m proud of her for sticking to it once she made up her mind to do something. She’s going on to high school next year, and that’s a huge thing for her. It’s hard to believe she’s already old enough for high school!
Yesterday we celebrated her completion of this landmark with going out to Dunkin’ Donuts. I took her and her friend out to get something for lunch. Then they wanted to go to the library for a teen day. While I trust Corde to walk by herself, her friend’s mom wasn’t comfortable with it, so I walked them to the library. They got bored there and decided to go to the park.
That’s when things got crazy. Her friend’s mother didn’t know which park they went to and worried. She drove around to all the local parks to try and find them when she wasn’t able to reach her son on the phone. I couldn’t reach Corde either, so that complicated things even more.
Now, personally, I wasn’t too worried about it. I figured Corde would check in soon enough. She’s been really good about telling me where she was going to be and letting me know when plans change. It was still early (I didn’t expect them home until 5:30), and they would undoubtedly check in soon. The thing that worried me was her friend’s mom saying she went to all the parks in the area and she hadn’t seen them at any of them. I wasn’t ready to worry yet, but I was definitely a bit concerned.
At the prompting of Corde’s friend’s mom, we went down to the police station to report them missing. Again, I wasn’t too worried, but I can totally understand where his mother was coming from, and they weren’t checking in and hadn’t been able to be reached in two hours. I figured the worst that can happen is they get tracked down and everything turns out fine. My prediction was the kids would be found by the police on their walk home and everything would be fine.
Now comes the point when I’m really proud of Corde. When they checked in, they were exactly where they said they would be, at the park. It turns out that they were at a park Corde’s friend’s mom didn’t expect them to be at. She thought it was too far for them to walk. I wasn’t totally surprised and I felt a little better when I found out she hadn’t checked that park. To be fair, it’s a big park and it wouldn’t be surprising if they’d been on the far side of the baseball field and hard to spot from the parking lot. I wasn’t at all surprised to find out they’d been at the park the whole time. Thankfully they checked in before any kind of police report was filed, so that’s a plus, though the cop we talked to did ask me to say “hello” to Corde for her. When Corde got lost at the marathon, that’s the cop Corde talked to in order to get help getting back to us.
This is how I learned Corde really has a decent bit of freedom in comparison to her friends. I let her go off on her own, so long as she tells me where she’s at and checks in if plans change. I let her walk to the library by herself, all of a mile away. The park she went to was the bigger one that’s a little further away than the local one. I have no problems with her walking there from the library. I would be okay with her taking the bus to the mall or the movie theater. For the most part, all she has to do is say, “Mom, I’m going to X and I’ll be home around Y.”
That’s not to say we haven’t had a few bumps in the road. She’s gone over friends’ houses without telling me when she’s going to be home, then she doesn’t have her phone on her, so I can’t reach her. Then there’s times when she’s late and forgets to tell me. One time she told Oz I told her she could go swimming with her friend, when I hadn’t given her permission. I said I didn’t care because I was at work, but she knows when I’m at work she’s got to ask Oz for permission. These have all been little bumps in the road, but we’ve gotten through them. Overall she’s learned from these mistakes and things get better from that point on.
Corde is a great girl, and I can’t wait to see the kind of adult she’s going to grow into. While she can be a bit of a drama queen, she’s also funny, creative, and wacky. She’s obviously proving to be responsible (even if she’s not always reachable by phone), and for the most part is pretty honest. These qualities are going to do her well when she gets older and goes on into the adult world. Now if only that wasn’t so frighteningly close!