Greetings, fellow chopper enthusiasts
Well, that was somewhat unexpected. Pretty much every response I got to my level of concern on this issue, in every venue that I expressed my concern (and there were several), was "Yes. That. Me too." Which makes me feel both better and worse. Better because it always makes you feel better to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. Worse because it means this shit is real. In some ways, a "Get your head our of your arse, she'll be fine" response might have been better. But, no. You all seem to feel some version of how I feel about this issue. Which makes me just very terribly sad. I have three precious people to raise in this world. You have precious people too, whether you're a parent or not. I just want them all to be okay, because they deserve to be okay.
Sometimes I'll stumble into reading some fight online where people are sparring back and forth about some ridiculous issue such as whether or not children should be allowed on airplanes. And inevitably there will be some vehemently and hatefully childfree jackass on there who says something like, "Look, people, your little brat is not special. They don't deserve to ruin my travel experience." Guess what, clown? The little brat IS special. Screw that guy. Really. If we as a society do not view children as special and precious we are all damned, damned, damned. Whether or not you believe in a hell, you are is some very raw way damned if you do not believe that children are special.The fact that children can be so easily victimized in our world, in so many ways, really and truly makes me want to go off the grid and raise my children in some relative wilderness like a pack of total weirdos. I could do it. I am a resourceful bitch. And universal healthcare makes commune living in the wilderness a more responsible option than it used to be.
I guess you could say I have moved on to ANGER in the whole 'stages of grief' business.
On the actual topic of Phook's sleepover, I have a modestly positive report to give. I finally got in touch with the mom the other day. She called back early in the morning when I was still in bed, so I was pissed I didn't have my game face on. But she called, and I said, "Look. I've gotta warn you. Phook is my firstborn. This is her first official sleepover. And we're new to the area. So you're about to talk to the trifecta of paranoia." Which, yes, is actually how I talk to people I have never met at 6:30 in the morning.
She took it well. She laughed and told me that she was in the "exact same place" when her older daughter started doing this type of thing 3 years ago. I then warmed her up with some logistical questions that went well. I told her I was concerned about Phook's safety and she responded by telling me who will be in the home, what she's feeding them, what their plans are. I then came right out and said, "Do you have any unsecured weapons in your home?" (nearly gagging as I said it), and she said, "No. I have a very safe home. We are adopting a special needs child internationally next month and I can assure you every foot of this home and the people in it have been inspected for safety." Um, okay. That worked for me. I've actually felt bad for people after hearing about the absurd level of safety precautions that are required to pass a home study for an adoption, so I consider that a valid measure of inspection.
Then I suggested that rather than her picking the girls up (her original proposal), I could pick them up after school and drop them off at her house so I could meet her and see Phook off. She agreed to this, no problem. It will be so.
As we were wrapping up the conversation, I somewhat sheepishly apologized for being a nosy weirdo. She said, "You're not being a nosy weirdo. You're being a mom. This is your job." And right there, my blood pressure came down enough that I am no longer flirting with an actual stroke.
So it's not perfect, but it's okay. I think in the future, I will ask for a playdate and/or parent date prior to allowing a sleepover just to establish that policy with my kids, because there are going to be a lot of unknown buddies over the coming years and a firm rule is always easiest to enforce with the small people. If I have a policy, then I just have a policy. My children essentially accept my policies, which is nice.
But this is happening. I am picking up the girls in an hour. And I am going to take pictures of Phook and her friend, and I am going to be super pumped for Phook because she is just so excited, and then I am going to give that kid a hug so long and hard before I leave that she may not actually stay conscious through the whole thing. And then I am going to drive down the driveway crying, looking at her empty booster seat and thinking about what an awesome person I just dropped off at her friend's house.
And then I am going to think to myself, yet again, about all the things you can never truly know until you become a parent.