Yesterday, as the time to pick up The Rationalist approached, Monkey had a high fever and was laying on the couch in a sound sleep. He was beat. I didn't want to wake him and wasn't sure he could handle a thirty minute wait to pick up his brother in the car-rider line at school. I called DH at the last minute to see if he could make it in time to get The Rationalist, but he was in the middle of a meeting and couldn't get there before school was dismissed.
So, I held my breath, called the school and told them to let The Rationalist walk home on his own. We live about half a mile from the school. It's a pretty straight shot lined with crossing guards and other children walking home. We've walked it many times together. He is almost nine years old. Still, it was with great trepidation that I made the call.
I asked the office to let me speak with him and ran down the long list of things not to do. I told him if he wasn't home by 2:30, 15 minutes after school was out, I would be freaking out and worried. I told him not to get in anyone's car, not to go with anyone anywhere, not to go down streets that weren't the normal streets we walk, to look both ways before crossing the one street without a crossing guard, to wait after school for Mark, whom we normally give a ride to or walk with, and walk with him, because it's safer to walk in groups....etc., etc.
He mind-numbingly said,"ok...uh-huh...all right...," to all of my cautions.
At 2:25 I walked out my door to look down the street and was greatly relieved to see his sweaty, happy self running home, safe and sound, with a big grin on his face. He was very pleased with himself.
"Can I walk home on my own tomorrow too?"
All of my worries eased and the nervous clenching in my chest subsided. He was OK. He could be trusted. He came through for his family when we needed him to be responsible and make good choices.
Score one for The Rationalist.