I left my (almost) 8 year old son alone in the house this weekend, for the very first time.
He wanted to do it. In fact....in case the court ever asks...he BEGGED me to do it.
I had to drive his twin sister to gymnastics and he had been snug on the sofa recuperating from a cold. It was the middle of a new Pokemon episode and he just had no interest in getting up and going out.
"Mmmmmmmooooommmmm, I don't want to go!" he whined. And added a little cough for drama.
"Can't I just stay here?"
"I'll watch TV."
"All by yourself? Would you want to do that?"
"Yes! I really don't want to go."
I thought about it. Why was I making him come with me to take his sister to gymnastics? Could he really, finally be old enough to leave alone in the house? I hadn't even left his big sister alone yet. But maybe it was time to rethink this. He was cozy in front of the TV; it wasn't illegal (I didn't think...but I Googled it to be safe...); and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to throw a kegger while I was gone. Besides, I would only be gone for 15 minutes and I have an alarm system.
I was nervous, and scared, and felt a little naughty.
I decided to made him take a test - provide me with proof of his manhood and ability to fend for himself in the case of danger.
"What’s my cell phone number?"
He repeated it.
"What’s daddy’s number?"
He repeated it.
"What do you dial if anything bad happens. If anything REALLY scares you."
"Call 911" He held the phone receiver on his lap aloft.
He was good. I decided to throw him something a little tougher...
"What’s our address?" (You know, so the ambulance can find his broken, bleeding, burning, unchaperoned body…)
He regurgitated it perfectly.
"What do you do in an earthquake." (It's LA folks...you never know...).
"Stand in a doorway, or go under a table."
I paused. I couldn't think of anything else. Not one reason why I shouldn't give him the opportunity to feel independent. Even if it was just for 15 minutes. He was growing up. He wasn't a baby anymore. None of my kids were babies anymore and maybe this was something they needed. My trust. More responsibility. A little independence.
I paused, contemplating, thinking, imagining the possible headline news the next day...then I took the leap of faith. "Okay...But I’m locking the doors behind me, and turning on the alarm, and don't open the door for anyone! ANYONE! Not even if it's Grammy!
"Grammy lives in New York."
"I don't care. You get my point. Nobody! No matter how well you know them!"
"OK!" he gave me the thumbs up, smiling from the sofa. "Bye Marps!" He yelled as I went out the door. (he calls me Marps).
And I yelled "Bye, Moops!" (I call him Moops when he calls me Marps...).
And with that, I closed the door and blew a kiss good-bye to my baby boy.