These posts are almost always about parenting and only sometimes about whether I reached my mandatory (or-death-by-stoning) 10,000 steps on my Fit Bit.
I had a new parenting experience this summer with my almost 13 year old.
“Mom, can I go to Canada’s Wonderland this summer with my friends?”
Sure! We’ll pick a day, pack some sandwiches and tour the park holding one of those ropes they use for preschool children crossing the street to go to the library.
What she meant was, were we ready to let her go to an amusement park without a chaperone.
(She also wanted “Geeves” to drive the friends, deliver them to the front door with passes and cash and pick them up at a time of their choosing but that’s not really part of this discussion.)
My first inclination was to not let her go. I’ve seen Instagram and I’ve seen Carneys. It’s rampant with toothless, pouty selfies and cotton candy beards. Sometimes one of them is holding an elbow-sized, metal bolt in front of one of the older roller coasters with a mischievous ball-cap placement.
“But all of my friends have been going alone all summer!”
All of them? All summer? When did they have time to sit on their couches and play Ipad games for 7 hours straight? It’s a crying shame, really.
I don’t know what happened between the first day of summer and today but I have noticed the rat poison box looking a little less full and my tail starting to lengthen and memory becoming skewed.
I decided to let her go.
“Mom, can I have a cell phone to take to the park? All of my friends have one.”
No need. EVERYONE already has one. It’s not even unique anymore. Also, if you have to call us, you just tap on ANYONE’S shoulder at the park and ask to use theirs. You’re saving us money all over the place! Those other poor suckers….
Okay, let’s get to the paranoia part.
I didn’t sleep for about a week leading up to their excursion. I kept thinking of horrible things that might happen. What if someone’s pass doesn’t work and they don’t have enough money to pay for her to get in so they get in an airport taxi where they are quickly sold to a Middle Eastern prince for far less than they are all worth?
What if the Carney on Instagram with the teeth and the bolt and hat make headlines for removing the bolt from the first ride the girls line up for and one of their carriages flies off the rails? (Are there carriages and rails on rides? I hate rides)
What if someone gets a terrible sunburn, breaks a bone, meets a boy and leaves with him to meet his basket of puppies and giant candy collection?
And what about the most obvious of all? Human trafficking! I saw the movie “Taken” and it has stayed with me. And I’m no Liam Neeson. Those kids would have no chance.
The night before the big day away (it was a couple of days ago, I couldn’t even write about it until they were all home safely for fear the guys from Taken would read my blog and head straight to the park!) I talked to Hanna about staying together with her friends and not letting anyone stray from the herd. Her friends described it as moving in a blob. Fine. Blob your way around the park. Move organically in a cluster, use cell phones as required, don’t trade your pass or money for magic beans and oh right—have fun. To a point. Have you ever heard of the movie “Taken”? Those girls just wanted to go to Paris and have fun just like you. It’s exactly the same scenario.
Geeves picked the girls up at the assigned location and time and they were completely intact and even early.
It was a big step for us as parents.
Thank God he brought the ransom money.