So Lila gets an invitation to a schoolmate’s birthday sleepover and before she can tumble off the bus good, she’s shoving the little glossy card in my hand: “Can I go, please, please, puh-leeze, Mommy?”
All that begging and you’d think I don’t let her go anywhere.
And er, um, you’d be right.
Yes, I raise my hand and readily admit that I’m a play date blocker. Like, on the highest levels. If I don’t know your mama, I haven’t been to your house for any significant length of time, I haven’t a clue who all lives there, and your kid’s home-training is a little questionable? Nope—my kid’s not coming over.
Think this is a little excessive? Eh, not in my book. See, my mother was the same way—would look at me like I had four tongues and an extra set of teeth if I fixed my mouth to ask if I could hang out with someone other than her pre-approved list of kids. As far as she was concerned, I didn’t need any more stinking friends. Every last one of the ones she’d hooked me up with went to our church—the children of my mom’s long-time girlfriends. On Saturdays, we kids all hung out at the bowling alley, chewing on steak fries and scrounging for quarters for another game of Ms. Pac Man and Centipede while our parents slammed their bowling balls at the pins. If the ‘rents were feeling particularly randy, we’d all end up in someone’s basement, playing Monopoly and Connect Four and eating bowls of chitlins and collards while our parents talked and laughed about grown-up stuff with the other grown-up folk. And on Sundays, we all shared the same pews—reciting our Bible verses together and singing in the youth choir.
Those kids—they were family. Fully vetted. Millner endorsed. A decent bunch. Mommy could leave me at any one of their houses and trust that I was being well cared for, nobody was filling my head with nonsense or saying and doing inappropriate things in front of me or to me, and when she picked me up, I was a reasonably happy camper—the same kid she dropped off.
These days, things just ain’t the same.
To see how I handle picking the right friends for my kids, CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT (NOT SO) SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES on The Parenting Post at Parenting.com.