I woke up with an anxious feeling this morning and I knew exactly why. It’s because today my son will be taking public transportation home. And I bet I’m going to sound like a total asshole here but I feel so bad about it. I feel like there’s something wrong. Like I’m a bad parent for not picking him up.
What is the matter with me? I don’t know why I’m like this. Sebastian is 15 now, way old enough to take the bus home and besides, it’s not like he’s going to be by himself. He’ll be with his friends during his trek from school to the train station.
Still there’s a part of me that feels like I’m failing him. Shouldn’t he be getting picked up from school everyday like his older sister was? Shouldn’t I be sparing him from the mean city streets of downtown San Francisco? Is it really that I feel bad about it or is it that I see this as a symbol of my son growing up?
Yea, I get it. It’s pretty dumb of me. But I live in the city, my son’s high school is located downtown in close proximity to the Tenderloin district where, let’s just say, colorful people roam the streets. My kids have been driven to and from school since they all started in pre-K. I, on the other hand, was a latch-key kid growing up in the late 70s and early 80s.
Times were different back in my day. But even back then I had to deal with the crazy guy in the pick-up truck who showed me and my best friend his junk while we were waiting at the bus stop. And the punk kid who tried to mess with me on my walk home from school so I ended up not going straight to my house and instead found help at some random stranger’s house around the block.
I didn’t want my kids to have to go through those kinds of things. I wanted to know that they were safe from the time the final school bell rang to the time they got they got home and that meant that either I or their dad would pick them up. I realize that that makes me sound like a control freak but these are my kids. If I’m not going to be the control freak in their lives, who would be? Besides, things are even crazier out there nowadays and I just don’t want my kids to be exposed to any of that mess.
But I get it. I can’t always baby my son. I know that I’m probably doing him a disservice by not letting him get out there to experience this world. I realize plenty of kids his age do it. And they are all fine. I know Sebastian will be fine, too.
It’s time for me to cut that cord and let him go. It’s not like he’s going off to war.
Again, I repeat, if only for myself: Sebastian is going to be fine.
I wish I had given him a can of mace though.