Pssst. Can I Tell You a Secret
My friends, I have a little secret. Maybe you’ve already figured it out and in addition to what I’m about to tell you, I’m also suffering from delusions to think you don’t already know this about me, and if that’s the case I apparently have a few more problems than I’d like to admit. You also know I write from the cuff and don’t really edit before I post, right? Wait, that’s not the secret.
His preschool teacher?
I Googled her to death and did a background check before letting my son walk unaccompanied into her classroom.
His soccer coach?
Well let’s just say I’ve got my eye on him. Aaron started an after-school soccer program, which means on Mondays parents are supposed to pick up little darlings half an hour later than normal. That first day … who do you think was the only parent marching her tush onto the field as soon as practice started? I tried to disguise my neurosis by carrying a water bottle and explaining it was so terribly hot I just wanted to make sure my little guy was well-hydrated. Of course his teacher has me pegged (she knows I Google her) and she didn’t buy into my camouflage for a minute. However she did have a good-humored laugh while making me fess up that I was really there to see if the coach is a freak.
Can you really blame me? This week Spanish police arrested 121 people on child pornography charges. You’ve all heard and read stories about the coach, teacher, daycare provider, or fill in the blank____________who was found molesting children. And what about the sitters who actually kill their little charges? Yes, I know that not all people who work with children are perverts and abusers. Most are wonderful and under appreciated. I also realize people who have those tendencies seek gigs where children are readily available as prey. It’s pretty difficult to tell the good apples from the bad until you take a bit. I’m not sure how hungry I am.
We’ve never hired a babysitter. We enjoy our son’s company more than Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny combined, so we’re not all that anxious to be away from him. Jen at The Story of Us recently cut the cord, and the picture she posted has been niggling at my temples. She looked so happy and beautiful and her husband was beaming during their child-free evening. I may have to reconsider my paranoia.
I used to say that once Aaron could talk and actually communicate if something went wrong, I’d be ready to hand him over to a well-coiffed 16-year-old with a cell phone and boy friend. I figured the talking excuse would give me lots of time to become comfortable with the idea of a sitter.
Guess what happened? After a couple of years, my little bundle of joy actually started to talk. I quickly moved my benchmark and decided no babysitters, ever. Let’s see. He’s four now, so by my brilliant arithmetic that means in about 16 years I’ll feel perfectly content leaving him home alone.
We live far away from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the one relative living here who we did trust when my husband and I decided to make infrequent runs to adult-style entertainment or restaurants, well that one person happens to be my oldest step son, and he just moved to South Africa. Yea I know, the nerve.
Dear Oldest Step Son,
If you happen to be reading this from the other side of the globe, rest assured that I’m not trying to pile on more guilt. I thought all the snot and tears I spewed at your going away party would have had some effect. Apparently not, though, so rather than make you feel guilty for moving 8,431 miles away (yes, I looked it up) I just want to say we’re all doing well. Your baby brother isn’t missing you a bit. Nope, not one bit, and really you’re not missing much. He’s only grown six inches since you left last month and he’s started saying obnoxious things like, “Yo Dude.”
You are coming home for the holidays, aren’t you? You know how I pout and pout for weeks when you’re not here, which makes your father grumpy. I know it’ll have only been a few months since you moved 8,431 miles away, but there’s this show at the theater I want to see, and what about New Years? Did you give these things any thought before you moved 8,431 miles away?
What was I talking about? Oh yes, one of my secret neurosis. Wait a minute. What kind of juicy secret were you expecting? This is still our first date, and we don’t even have a baby sitter.