Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

This afternoon we took a little dip in the pool.  And by we I mean the kids and Ryan.  I chose instead to get my bronze on and read my magazine.  Unless the water is as warm as bathwater, I hesitate to get in.

Last year, there were a number of times when we were the only ones swimming in the pool.  It was really nice to have the entire pool to ourselves.  Kamryn learned how to swim last year and Rory was always wearing his floaties so it was easy taking the kids to the pool – I actually enjoyed it.

My biggest fear when it comes to my children is drowning so when I say I actually enjoyed taking them to the pool, I mean I wasn’t a nervous ball of anxiety.  This year, it’s a little different.  Kamryn can still swim and is getting better at swimming farther and coming up for air.  Rory, on the other hand, has regressed a bit.  He never wants to wear his floaties and when he does, he says he’s scared to go in the water.  There is a good chance that by the end of the summer he will have completed the 10 day boot camp swimming lessons that Kamryn did last year because he’s just too crazy to be around the pool without floaties on.

This afternoon there were a few more people at the pool than usual.  One woman was just laying out, like me.  There was a tween with a little girl, two moms and two toddlers and then a couple of other tweenish age girls.  The only ones that I would have been nervous about were the toddlers, but since they were with a parent I had no reason for concern.

After about a half hour, two little girls came up to the fence.  They were approximately Kamryn’s age (5) or maybe a year older.  They stood with their faces squished up to the bars and shouting to one of the tween girls in the pool.  The tween yelled over to me to let them in.  I told her, “No, they are too little to be in here without an adult.”  Yep, I’m a stickler for rules when it comes to kids and dying – there is a sign that says you have to be 14 to be in the pool without an adult.  The little girls stood outside the fence staring at me.  I told her if she wanted to come in here she needed to go get her mom to let her in because I wasn’t going to be responsible for opening the gate and having her drown. Those were my exact words.

At that time, the tween told the girls to go around to the other entrance.  They started walking over, keeping an eye on me the whole time.  I don’t know what they thought I was going to do.  I told them I wasn’t going to let them in – if the little tween wanted the blood of two little girls on her hands, that’s her problem.  No, I didn’t really think that but I sure as shit wasn’t going to be the one who opened the gate.  Luckily, one of the toddler moms said something to the girls when they walked in and they soon turned around and left.

I could go on and on about when I was a kid and how my dad whistled for us when it was time to come home.  We were always within earshot, which meant we were most likely on the block where we lived in our small, Iowa town.  It was a safe little town when we were children and I usually told my parents where I was going to be playing – whether it be a nearby park or in someone’s backyard, I was almost always within a half mile radius of our house.  If the street lights were on, we better be home – that was the hard, fast rule.

There is a little gang of kids that runs around our condo complex with never a parent in sight.  They are out until past 8:00pm on school nights, I see them playing in the parking lot on scooters and bikes and I even caught one little boy peeking in a neighbor’s window who happened to have 3 little girls.  I knocked on the neighbor’s door to alert them of their peeping tom, but all I got was a nod and a door shut in my face.  YOU’RE WELCOME!  I don’t give them friendly greetings anymore.

The kids aren’t bad children.  One of the girls helped me carry a changing table to my car.  Another boy gave pointers to Kamryn when she was learning to ride her bike.  I just can’t figure out where the hell their parents are or why I never even hear them yell for their kids to come home.

It doesn’t bother me that the kids are running around, but it would bother me tremendously if something were to happen to one of those kids.  I can’t even go to that place in my head with my own children so I attempt to walk the fine line of trying to allow them some freedom without suffocating them.  For now, that means they are always within my sight, accompanied by myself or their dad to the pool and are only allowed to walk as far as my brother’s building (it’s the building next to ours) by themselves.