The thud you are about to hear is my mother laughing so hard that she fell off her chair while reading this. (Wait for it)
This afternoon my son walked home from school all by himself. Well, he walked with a friend who lives up the street, but he did this without the omnipresent parental supervision. They even stopped at 7-11 to get a Slurpee. I heard about this after the fact, and I must confess that I had mixed emotions.
Mixed emotions? He's eight years old, after all. I went through a list of all the things that I had done and all the places I had been by the time I was in third grade. I remembered riding my bike to Ben Franklin's - the local five and dime store - with the neighborhood gang. I recalled similar raids on the area's 7-11s, for the purposes of acquiring Odd Rods and Wacky Packages by the case.
Truth is, it couldn't be a straighter shot from the school to our front door, and it's all downhill. He's been making the trip for four years now without incident. He even called before he left the school to see if it was okay to stop and get a Slurpee on the way home. Isn't this kid ready? Why should I worry?
The apocryphal tale of my wandering in my youth goes back to the mountain cabin where I spent many summers. When I was still very young, my mother admonished me for wandering away because, she said, "You're not familiar with the territory." I considered this a moment and told her that "I was getting familiar with the territory."
That's what happened today. My son was getting familiar with the territory. Vaya con Dios.