The summer before I started sixth grade I had a job. A lady that lived up the street from me needed someone to watch her children while she was at work, so she hired me. She had two kids, a five year old girl and a three year old boy.
Every morning I rode my bike to her house so that she could leave for work about 8:00 am and she got home about 5:00 or 5:30 at night. I fed them breakfast and lunch and took care of them all day on my own.
Now I have an 11 year old (or I will in just a couple months). He is pretty responsible and very obedient and just a really good kid. That said, I am terrified to leave him home without me.
Once in a while when I am running errands or doing visits in the neighborhood I will leave him in charge. I almost always take the baby and usually the three year old with me, but I worry a lot about being gone even when it is just around the block. I make sure my cell phone is fully charged so the kids can call me if they need to (and they do..."Mom, Parker won't share the G.I. Joe guys!!"...that is not what I meant by call if you need anything)
I know that this is ridiculous and my kids are growing up and I need to let them learn to be responsible...but it is REALLY HARD!!
When I was in 2nd grade my mom used to let me walk my dog to our neighborhood school all by myself to play at the park. Just last month I allowed my three oldest kids to ride around the block on their scooters for the first time without me. I made them promise to stay together. I checked the time when they left so I would know if they were gone too long. I stayed in the living room so that I would be able to see them from the front window the second they returned. Yup, I am that lame.
I have friends who are good parents who trust their kids to spend the time between school release and getting home from work without them every day. I know people who hire ten year olds to babysit their little ones for short periods of time. I do trust my kids. They are wonderful people. I just worry. I am an excellent worryer.
I guess growing up is just as hard for grown ups as it is for kids.